Is the IRS Finally Receiving Increased Funding?

After months of back and forth, it appears that additional funding is on its way to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) released a statement yesterday on his agreement with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) on the FY2022 Budget Reconciliation legislation and plans to hold a vote in the US Senate next week. A summary of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (Act) provides the following topline estimates:

Total Revenue Raised $739 billion 15% Corporate Minimum Tax $313 billion* Prescription Drug Pricing Reform $288 billion** IRS Tax Enforcement $124 billion** Carried Interest Loophole $14 billion* Total Investments $433 billion Energy Security and Climate Change $369 billion** Affordable Care Act Extension $64 billion** Total Deficit Reduction $300+ billion * = Joint Committee on Taxation Estimate ** = Congressional Budget Office Estimate

 

With respect to taxes, the summary states that the Act will “[m]ake the biggest corporations and ultra-wealthy pay their fair share” and “[t]here are no new taxes on families making $400,000 or less and no new taxes on small business – we are closing tax loopholes and enforcing the tax code.”

Section 10301 of the Act, entitled “Enhancement of Internal Revenue Service Resources,” provides the following appropriations:

  • IRS: $78,911,000,000
    • Taxpayer Services: $3,181,500,000
      • Provide taxpayer services, including pre-filing assistance and education; filing and account services; taxpayer advocacy services; and other services authorized by 5 U.S.C. 3109 (relating to employment of excerpts and consultants on a temporary or intermittent basis)
    • Enforcement: $45,637,400,000
      • Conduct tax enforcement activities to determine and collect owed taxes; provide legal and litigation support; conduct criminal investigations; provide digital asset monitoring and compliance activities; enforce criminal statutes related to violations of internal revenue laws and other financial crimes; purchase and hire passenger motor vehicles; and provide other services authorized by 3109
    • Operations Support: $25,326,400,000
      • Support taxpayer services and enforcement programs, including rent payments; facilities services; printing; postage; physical security; headquarters and other IRS-wide administrative activities; research and statistics of income; telecommunications; information technology development, enhancement, operations, maintenance and security; hire of passenger motor vehicles, operations of the IRS Oversight Board; and other services authorized by 3109
    • Business Systems Modernization: $4,750,700,000
      • Improve the business systems modernization program, including development of callback technology and other technology to provide a more personalized customer service experience but do not include the operation and maintenance of legacy systems.
    • Report on IRS-Run Free “Direct Efile” Tax Return System: $15,000,000
      • Deliver to US Congress (within nine months) a report on the cost of developing and running a free direct efile tax return system; taxpayer opinions, expectations and level of trust—based on surveys—for such a system; and opinions of an independent third party on the overall feasibility, approach, schedule, cost, organizational design and the IRS’s capacity to deliver such a system
    • Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA): $403,000,000



IRS Releases Five-Year Strategic Plan with Emphasis on Enforcement

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released its five-year strategic plan (Strategic Plan) for 2022 – 2026, laying out four major goals:

  1. Service: Provide quality and accessible services to enhance the taxpayer experience
  2. Enforcement: Enforce the tax law fairly and efficiently to increase voluntary compliance and narrow the tax gap
  3. People: Foster an inclusive, diverse and well-equipped workforce and strengthen relationships with external partners
  4. Transformation: Transform IRS operations to become more resilient, agile and responsive to improve the taxpayer experience and narrow the tax gap.

In the portion of his opening message that addressed enforcement, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig focused on listed transactions, saying, “We also continued to make important progress in our compliance programs, with a particular focus on abusive tax shelters, including syndicated conservation easements and microcaptive insurance arrangements.”

The Strategic Plan vows an increased focus on noncompliant, high-income and high-wealth taxpayers, partnerships and large corporations, which the report asserts “make up a disproportionate share of the unpaid taxes.” The IRS intends to improve efforts to collect unpaid taxes with effective deterrence and enhanced enforcement capabilities. Employees will also have access to Enterprise Case Management, which will provide agents with the full history of a taxpayer, along with other tools to prevent and address noncompliance. The IRS also wants to reduce the burden on taxpayers by decreasing the time between filing returns and compliance issue resolution. Finally, the IRS plans to improve public confidence by promoting compliance through publicizing criminal prosecutions and civil enforcement efforts.

Additionally, the IRS points to increasing efforts to proactively identify fraud schemes. Its Office of Fraud Enforcement is creating a new Virtual Currency Learning Academy for all IRS personnel—from beginners to experts—with training focused on cryptocurrencies, blockchain tracing, anti-money laundering compliance and Altcoins.

While responsibilities and workloads at the IRS have been increasing, resources to combat criminal fraud and tax evasion have been decreasing. The IRS says it must continue updating necessary tax guidance for new investments, invest in analytical approaches to improve case selection and maintain institutional knowledge of how to combat avoidance activities.

The Strategic Plan indicates that the IRS continues to navigate challenges related to insufficient funding, decreasing workforce and hiring difficulties. In response, the IRS intends to expand electronic services with online accounts and digital filing capabilities. The IRS also plans to expand resources for international taxpayers, as well as implement a Multilingual Strategy with new publications in multiple languages. Other goals include increasing outreach with enhanced social media strategies and prioritizing security while safeguarding taxpayer data.

The Strategic Plan also discusses the IRS’s aging workforce and above-average attrition rates. In response, the IRS intends to hire additional employees, enhance retention and implement a Comprehensive Training Strategy.

Finally, the IRS plans to make improvements to infrastructure, which includes reorganizing operations, upgrading and modernizing systems, accelerating cybersecurity modernization efforts from cyber threats and reducing the paper volume by using digital data more effectively.

Commissioner Rettig stated, “[w]orking toward these strategic goals with consistent multi-year funding will [...]

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Weekly IRS Roundup July 18 – July 22, 2022

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of July 18, 2022 – July 22, 2022. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

July 18, 2022: The IRS issued Tax Tip 2022-108, reminding people that they can get the latest IRS news through the agency’s verified social media accounts and by subscribing to e-news services.

July 18, 2022: The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released its Fiscal Year 2022 IRS Federal Information Security Modernization Act Evaluation report. In the report, TIGTA determined that the Cybersecurity Program was not effective in 17 out of 20 metrics. (TIGTA does not make recommendations as part of its evaluation.)

July 19, 2022: The IRS announced that the Security Summit partners are encouraging tax professionals to inform clients about the IRS Identity Protection PIN Opt-In Program to help protect people against tax-related identity theft. This announcement came during the first of the five-part summer series to highlight the critical steps tax professionals can take to protect client data and their businesses.

July 19, 2022: The IRS reminded 2021 tax extension filers not to wait until October to file their returns. (The IRS estimated that 19 million taxpayers requested an extension to file their 2021 tax return.) The announcement urges taxpayers to file their returns as soon as they have all the necessary information and to avoid the October 17 deadline and last-minute rush.

July 19, 2022: The IRS issued Tax Tip 2022-110, which contains information on reporting independent contractor compensation of $600 or more. This is completed using Form 1099-NEC, Nonemployee Compensation.

July 20, 2022: The IRS announced a new five-year strategic plan that outlines its goals to improve taxpayer service and tax administration. The IRS Strategic Plan FY 2022-2026 will serve as a roadmap to help guide the agency’s programs and operations and to meet the changing needs of taxpayers and members of the tax community. The plan also focuses on four goals to improve customer service: (1) Service; (2) Enforcement; (3) People and (4) Transformation. We will be posting more information about the plan on the blog in the coming days.

July 20, 2022: The IRS issued Tax Tip 2022-110, reminding taxpayers of the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), an independent organization within the IRS that helps to protect taxpayer rights. The tax tip also includes information on the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR). We previously wrote an article explaining what TAS does and how it can be utilized by all types of taxpayers, as well as a post about how taxpayers can utilize the TBOR.

July 20, 2022: The IRS issued a notice and request for comments for [...]

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Weekly IRS Roundup July 11 – July 15, 2022

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of July 11, 2022 – July 15, 2022. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

July 11, 2022: The IRS announced that the Nationwide Tax Forum will start July 19, 2022. The programing includes a keynote address by IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, updates on tax law, cybersecurity, ethics and more. The virtual event will take place over a five-week period from July 19 to August 18 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays each week. Those wanting to participate must register at least three business days in advance to guarantee access. Attendance at the webinars qualifies as continuing education (CE) for enrolled agents, certified public accountants, Annual Filing Season Program participants, California Tax Education Council (CTEC) participants and Certified Financial Planners (CFP).

July 12, 2022: The IRS issued renewed warnings for tax professionals to guard themselves against identity theft. This effort begins next week with the Security Summit’s annual summer campaign, “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself,” which is focused on tax professionals taking steps to prevent data theft from their offices. This will mark the seventh year that the IRS, state tax agencies and the national tax community have teamed up to raise awareness on the issue.

July 12, 2022: The IRS announced a special virtual session for those interested in becoming an IRS revenue agent. The agency plans to hire 470 revenue agents for the Small Business Self Employed (SB/SE) division. For further discussion, see our recent post.

July 12, 2022: The IRS issued Tax Tip 2022-105, reminding taxpayers that they can log into their account to check account information, including balance, payments and tax records.

July 13, 2022: The IRS reminded taxpayers to file their tax returns as soon as possible. The agency also encourages people to utilize special tools on IRS.gov to help them file and access assistance.

July 13, 2022: The IRS issued Tax Tip 2022-106, which gives points on how taxpayers should evaluate whether they have a hobby or business.

July 14, 2022: The IRS is requesting comments on Form 8874, Form 1041-QFT and Form 706-GS(T). Form 8874 is for investors seeking a credit for their equity investment; Form 1041-QFT is the return for a qualified funeral trustee to report the trust’s taxes; and Form 706-GS(T) is used to report taxes due from trust terminations subject to generation-skipping transfer tax.

July 14, 2022: The IRS issued Tax Tip 2022-107, which provides information on Individual Retirement Arrangements.

July 14, 2022: The IRS announced a free IRS/Federal Trade Commission webinar focused on scams and identity theft. The webinar will also cover how a taxpayer can add a layer of protection by applying for [...]

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