Halting Notices Not A Simple Task


In local tax news, Gregory Twachtman, a Washington News Editor, posted the following article:

The Internal Revenue Service said that certain changes to its collection policies, particularly when it comes to sending out automatic notices, will be very difficult to make due to technology limitations.

“Making significant operational changes to our systems, including stopping certain notices from being printed and mailed, may require programming and other operational changes,” the agency said in a statement published January 27 on its website. “With an outdated technological ecosystem, these are changes that cannot be made as efficiently as they should be – and that is part of the reason why investing in IRS IT modernization is so important”.

The agency further stated that making these seemingly simply changes “could run the risk of jeopardizing the overall operation system critical to the current tax season – and the more than 160 million revenues we anticipate receiving.”

The statement did note some actions that have been taken to provide some taxpayers with relief as it is working to clear its backlog.

“For example, we have already decided to suspend notices in situations where we have credited taxpayers for payments but have no record of the tax return being filed,” the agency said in the statement. “In many situations, the tax return may be part of our current paper tax inventory and simply hasn’t been processed. Stopping these letters – which could otherwise could have been sent to thousands of taxpayers – will help avoid confusion.”

The IRS also noted that many of the notices are statutorily required to be issued within a certain timeframe for them to be legally valid and would require congressional action to make changes.

“We will continue to explore areas where the IRS can make changes and are in the process of reviewing the full set of notices that we send to determine where we can make adjustments while we continue to work through the unprocessed returns and taxpayer correspondence,” the agency said.

The IRS statement comes on the heels of a group of more than 200 members of Congress calling on the agency to halt some of its notices temporarily as it works through its backlog. A coalition of tax professionals earlier this year made similar requests of the agency.