In this blog I’ve occasionally written about the extraordinary level of difficulty I’ve experienced resolving clients’ tax matters with IRS. Most recently posts like “Fun and Games With the IRS” and “Today’s adventures with IRS” attempt to document serious service deficiencies in a lighthearted and almost comical blog post.
Today CPA Trendines covers the same topic. This confirms that these problems are widespread. This article predicts that IRS deficiencies will push more modest income taxpayers to professionals when they have tax problems – the exact opposite effect from what was intended by IRS self-serve initiatives. M0st of the recent problems originate from self-prepared tax returns as explained in “I fix TurboTax Returns“. It is unrealistic to think that even diligent taxpayers could navigate some of the complex tax law issues that are being caught and assessed by IRS automated audit programs today. More taxpayers than ever before are caught in this trap. The result is simply a mess.
Last week a normally conservative estate and trusts attorney with a large unleashed a tirade of emotions and bad feelings toward the federal government for what she perceived as a deliberate attempt to undermine the credibility of the IRS and make taxpayers believe that the system has been “simplified”. While I won’t touch that political topic in this post, it is interesting to note that such professional sentiment exists.
To be clear: what is happening is that IRS computer screening and audit programs are flagging and assessing additional taxes, very often incorrectly, and penalties and IRS staffing lacks the ability to deal with taxpayer response necessary to correct those errors. I have one client who has been waiting for an ordinary tax refund for more than a year simply as a result of IRS service deficiencies. Yes, I know that escalation provisions like Taxpayer Advocate services exist for this reason but it should not be necessary for simple tax matters hat simply require human attention.
I conclude that it not logistically possible for the IRS to meet their legal obligations of taxpayer support as granted under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights with the current level of technology, staffing and resources.