IRS Offers New Streamlined Infrastructure and Training Plan
On January 11, the IRS sent its Taxpayer First Act Report to Congress outlining the agency’s plans to enhance the taxpayer experience, ensure IRS employees are adequately trained, and identify organizational redesign. Because of APA member advocacy, the IRS’s plan includes recommendations that make sense for payroll operations [IR-2021-07, 1-11-21].
APA members participating on three IRS advisory committees – the IRS Advisory Council (IRSAC), the Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC), and the IRS Security Summit – and the APA’s Government Relations Task Force (GRTF) Subcommittee on Federal Issues played a key role in working with the IRS to develop the plan.
The APA made recommendations regarding organization redesign at the IRS:
Compliance Division. APA recommended streamlining the current infrastructure to move all of the tasks performed by the business-focused sections (Wage and Investment, Small Business/Self Employed, Large Business and International, and Tax Exempt/Government Entities) into one division. The new compliance division will operate based on service needs, such as examinations and collections.
Identity Theft/Fraud Office. The IRS is consolidating its identity theft tax fraud functions into one location in an office within the proposed new Relationships and Services Division. As recommended by APA, this will provide victims with a dedicated location to seek help. The new office will work to resolve issues across the IRS and seek assistance from the Security Summit and Identity Theft Refund Fraud Information Sharing Assistance Center.
Other Infrastructure Changes
The IRS plans to create a new Enterprise Change and Innovation Division to identify and implement agency-wide initiatives to continuously improve IRS functions (e.g., digital modernization). This division will work to find ways to simplify taxpayer processes through ongoing discussions with stakeholders and IRS employees. Driven by COVID-19 and other emergency relief measures, the IRS will seek better ways to effectively implement short-term legislative changes.
Two other divisions will consolidate internal agency operations. The Operations Management Division will house human resources, accounting, and property management functions. The Information Technology Division will include the management of computing centers and cybersecurity activities.
In addition, the IRS is creating a consolidated training program called the IRS University. The new program will offer IRS employees training throughout their careers, ranging from understanding specific duties, improving communication skills, and developing leadership proficiencies.
The report outlines the IRS’s estimate of the cost to implement the plan over a period of years. Without additional funds, some of the new infrastructure and service functions may not happen.
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Alice P. Jacobsohn, Esq. is Director of Government Relations for the APA.