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After Successful Filing Season, IRS Reports Progress in Service and Modernization Efforts

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Jul 14, 2023

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported delivered dramatically improved service in filing season 2023, thanks to the resources provided by the billions of dollars in increased funding afforded by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the tax collection agency reported.

"This is an exciting time for the IRS and for the tax system," IRS commissioner Daniel Werfel said during a press conference Thursday, as reported by Accounting Today. "Thanks to funding provided by Congress in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, we've started transforming IRS operations. These will provide significant benefits for taxpayers, tax professionals and the tax system over the next decade. We have a unique opportunity, a once-in-a-generation chance, to envision and realize the future of tax administration."

The IRS continued to improve taxpayer service by expanding the number of Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) across the country. Currently, the IRS has opened or reopened 35 TACs since the passage of the IRA. The IRS has also started a special series of events, called Community Assistance Visits, that entail setting up temporary TACs to give taxpayers from underserved areas an opportunity to meet face-to-face with IRS customer service representatives.

In addition, the IRS plans to create online accounts for businesses, improve its online accounts for taxpayers and tax professionals, and add extra capabilities for submitting forms via mobile phones.

The IRS has also used the extra funding to increase enforcement of nonpayment of owed taxes by high-income taxpayers pay their owed taxes. The agency reported that, in just the last few months, it closed about 175 delinquent tax cases for millionaires, generating $38 million in recoveries.

The IRS is also modernizing its decades-old technology. It is replacing decades-old mail sorting machines with newer ones, which enable faster processing of paper returns and delivery of refunds. The replacement of old scanners will improve the agency’s ability to process the volume of incoming paper quickly. The overall digitization efforts are intended to “drive the agency's efforts to provide world class customer service and protect taxpayers' data,” it said.

"Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, the 2023 filing season showed what the IRS can achieve for American taxpayers when it has the resources," Laurel Blatchford, Chief Implementation Officer for the Inflation Reduction Act at the Treasury Department, said in a statement reported by Accounting Today. "The IRS achieved 87 percent levels of service exceeding [Treasury] Secretary [Janet] Yellen's goal of 85 percent. The IRS answered 3 million more calls, cut phone wait times to three minutes from 28 minutes, served 140,000 more taxpayers in person, digitized 80 times more returns than in 2022 through the adoption of new scanning technology, cleared the backlog of unprocessed 2022 individual tax returns with no errors, launched new digital tools, and enables a new direct deposit refund option for taxpayers with amended returns. The IRS has not taken its foot off the gas and continues to make steady progress in improving service, enforcement and technology."

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