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Will the quality of tax administration suffer due to new tax law?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has experienced a number of budget cuts in recent years. These budget cuts have made it difficult for the agency to maintain the staff needed to provide quality tax administration. This reality has led many tax advocates to voice concerns about the agency’s ability to administer the new tax law.

Accounting Today recently dug into this issue. The piece notes that the 2017 Annual Report to Congress from the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Taxpayer Advocate Service pointed out many challenges that will likely impact the administration of tax law. Examples include:

 

  • Service. The IRS is responsible for meeting a range of service needs for taxpayers. This can include simple tasks like answering the phone to more complex tasks, like gathering evidence during an audit. Budget cuts have translated to fewer people to complete these tasks.
  • Technology. Technological advances often allow for increased efficiency. The agency could fall even further behind without funds to support these updates.
  • Compliance programs. The agency has not been able to fully support these programs. These programs are responsible for protecting tax payer rights as well as ensuring taxpayers comply with tax law. Examples of compliance efforts include offshore compliance and fraud investigations.

These challenges will likely impact the agency’s ability to provide quality tax administration. The administration could face further difficulties as it struggles to get the education it needs about proper application of these new laws. This could translate to additional difficulties for those who are contacted by the IRS about a tax matter. As such, it is important that those who are contacted by the agency reach out for legal counsel. 

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