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Portman, Senate Republicans Urge IRS to Provide Maximum Taxpayer Support During Difficult Filing Times

Feb. 10, 2022

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WASHINGTON DC- Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and his Colleagues of Senate Republicans urge the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to do all it can to support taxpayers in the current tax filing period. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, senators urged the agency to give taxpayers targeted, temporary relief during what is widely believed to be one of the most challenging and frustrating times. of filing in recent memory for both the taxpayer and the IRS.

The senators identify many of the challenges facing their constituents, and recommend areas where the IRS can use its current authority to offer significant relief to taxpayers.

“… We continue to hear from constituents whose paperwork and amended returns have not been processed, and due to a lack of information on IRS processing dates and timelines, do not know if their returns have reached the IRS or if they must re-file. Some taxpayers are waiting for their tax refund, some related to their 2019 tax return. This situation is unbelievable. When our constituents are unable to seek help from those assigned to administer our tax laws, it undermines the integrity of our voluntary tax system, ” written by senators.

The senators recommended that the IRS stop automatic collections for a significant period of time; provide targeted tax penalty relief for taxpayers; delay the collection process for filers until any active and pending penalty reduction requests have been processed; and inform the status of IRS operations in a clear and timely manner, among other recommendations.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) endorsed the senators ’recommendations. “AICPA is pleased to support members in their calls for the IRS to take specific action to alleviate the anticipated challenges of the current tax filing period,” he said. said AICPA Vice President of Taxation, Edward Karl, CPA, CGMA. “We would like to highlight the recommendation to change the complex and confusing implementation of Schedule K-2 and K-3 by delaying until next tax year. AICPA members are already concerned about IRS backlogs and reduced services so delays in implementing Schedules K-2 and K-3 will help the IRS focus on mitigating the problems at hand. “

Senators who signed the letter: Mike Crapo (R-ID), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Cornyn (R-TX), John Thune (R-SD), Richard Burr (R-NC), Pat Toomey ( R- PA), Tim Scott (R-SC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Steve Daines (R-MT), Todd Young (R-IN), Ben Sasse (R- NE), John Barrasso (R-WY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Cotton (R-AR) , Deb Fischer (R-NE), Bill Hagerty (R-TN) John Hoeven (R-ND), James Inhofe (R-OK), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowksi (R -AK), Jim Risch (R-ID), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

NOTE: Senator Portman has been a leader in efforts to make the IRS more responsive and accountable to taxpayers. His law, Protecting Taxpayers Actwas signed into law as part of Taxpayers First Act of 2019.

Read the full letter and recommendations here or below.

Dear Secretary Yellen and Commissioner Rettig,

Since the 2022 tax filing season has recently begun, we are concerned about the current delays and backlogs facing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the weight it receives on American taxpayers. While we understand that the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the IRS, we are concerned about our constituents ’ability to process their returns accurately and efficiently. We are also alarmed by reports from taxpayers that their tax problems will not be resolved because the IRS is not responding.

The IRS’s recent statement that it will stop sending some automated notifications until it can process the current tax inventory on paper is progress, but much more needs to be done. According to the latest IRS data, the IRS continues to have a backlog of 6 million Form 1040 (Individual Income Tax Returns) and 2.3 million revised individual tax returns. In addition, the IRS has 1.1 million Form 941 (Employer Quarterly Tax Returns) that must be processed before processing nearly 440,000 amended Form 941. Also, the National Taxpayer Advocate recently reported that the IRS customer service phone center is only 11 percent of calls answered here in FY 2021. These delays and lack of access present challenges for American families and businesses.

For example, in many cases, the delayed processing of modified returns is so detrimental to small businesses in our communities that applications for emergency loans from the Small Business Administration were caught in limbo nearly two years after the pandemic began. of COVID-19. The situation has worsened to a point that the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) will no longer accept cases that only involve processing modified returns. In addition, we continue to hear from constituents who have not yet processed their paper and amended returns, and due to a lack of information on IRS processing dates and timelines, do not know if their returns have reached the IRS. or if they must re-file. Some taxpayers are waiting for their tax refund, some related to their 2019 tax return. This situation is unbelievable. When our constituents fail to get help from those assigned to oversee our tax laws, it undermines the integrity of our voluntary tax system.

While recognizing the challenges currently facing the IRS, we find the current situation at the IRS alarming. Given current circumstances, we respectfully request the IRS to consider using its current authority to take steps to provide immediate relief to taxpayers and reduce backlogs, during this tax filing. , like:

  • Stop automated lien/levy issuance for a significant period of time;
  • Postpone the collection process for filers until the IRS opens and processes any mail that may include a deduction request;
  • Provide targeted tax penalty relief for taxpayers, as previously offered by the IRS;
  • Speed ​​up the processing of millions of original IRS inventory returns, then immediately turn to processing revised returns, and give TAS and congressional caseworkers timely updates and responses;
  • Communicate publicly, in a clear and timely manner, the status of IRS operations, current processing times, unopened mail levels, number of error resolution cases, and dates when mail was processed , including paper and revised returns; at
  • Consider modifying the current implementation of Schedules K-2 and K-3 to focus on clearing the backlog rather than adding more complexity.

While we recognize there is no single action that will alleviate long -standing issues and difficulties with the IRS, measures like this will give our constituents more certainty and significant relief as we enter this year’s filing period. We continue to support the IRS’s efforts to fulfill their mission to provide taxpayers with the highest quality of service, help them understand and meet their tax responsibilities, and apply tax law with integrity and fairness. to all.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

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