NSA Officers Meet with IRS Commissioner Koskinen.
NSA issues “Tax Practitioners Bill of Rights.”
As tax professionals, individual and small business taxpayers are well aware, trying to get help from the IRS – whether responding to questions or even answering a taxpayer phone call – has moved from “difficult” to “virtually impossible.” In order to focus attention at both the IRS and in Congress, the National Society of Accountants (NSA) has issued a “Tax Practitioners Bill of Rights.” NSA hopes this Bill of Rights will establish timely enactment of tax laws and regulations and reasonable levels of IRS service for tax practitioners, who file 60 percent of the tax returns received by the IRS each year. Among the provisions in the NSA Tax Practitioners Bill of Rights are:
- The right to have tax laws and rules passed in a timely manner
- The right to quality service from the IRS
- The right to practice without undue IRS demands during tax filing season
And the IRS is listening.
In a letter to NSA from IRS Commissioner, John A. Koskinen, the commissioner states the Tax Practitioner Bill of Rights “contains several commendable, common sense ideas, articulated as rights aimed at addressing some of our mutual concerns about the tax system. I am deeply concerned about the uncertainty and practical challenges that can result from late-year or retroactive legislation, and the decline in taxpayer services that has resulted from diminished IRS funding.”
The Commissioner is correct that funding levels have had a severe impact on IRS service to taxpayers. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees are currently considering additional cuts to the IRS budget, an additional cut of more than $800 million in the House version. Adjusted for inflation, this is less than the IRS received ten years ago. Enough is enough. On November 17th, NSA delivered a strongly worded letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Appropriations Committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives pointing out that individual and small business taxpayers are being harmed by IRS budget cuts on a daily basis. The NSA letter asked the legislators:
- How is your budget helping taxpayers or tax professionals when individuals calling for help are more likely to receive incorrect information or no information because of the lack of training?
- How is your proposed budget helping the IRS in the fight against identity theft and tax refund fraud?
- How is your proposed budget giving the IRS the funds to safeguard taxpayer information?
- How is your budget helping taxpayers if, because of the lack of funds, they face inappropriate adjustments and assessments, inappropriate levies or inappropriate liens because IRS enforcement employees are not well trained?
The letter responded for them, “The answer is obvious: it does not.”
On Wednesday, November 18, NSA officers met with Commissioner Koskinen to discuss IRS budget cuts, the NSA Tax Practitioner Bill of Rights, identity theft and the need for better security, and any upcoming filing season issues that our members need to know.