Since the start of the year, our tax blogs have focused a lot on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (and rightly so if you ask me). The new tax law implements a lot of changes for taxpayers and tax professionals. I don’t think we think about it a lot, but the new tax law means substantial changes for the IRS too. They will need to update 450 tax forms and 140 computer systems as a result of the new tax law. Of course, employees will need to be trained on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Recently the IRS released a new five-year strategic plan. Through reading the plan, it is clear to see that the new tax law is a major driver in many of the plan’s goals, however, I would say the overall focus of the plan is to improve customer service and modernize how the service operates. Central to the plan are six strategic goals:
- Empower and enable all taxpayers to meet their tax obligations
- Protect the integrity of the tax system by encouraging compliance through administering and enforcing the tax code
- Collaborate with external partners proactively to improve tax administration
- Cultivate a well-equipped, diverse, flexible and engaged workforce
- Advance data access, usability and analytics to inform decision making and improve operational outcomes
- Drive increased agility, efficiency, effectiveness and security in IRS operations
A reoccurring theme in the new strategic plan is the need to modernize the IRS to match the level of customer service received in the private sector. This includes creating new channels for interaction and enhancing current methods. The IRS points out that 52% of hardware used by the agency is past its useful life. The IRS will also look to better maintain the currency of computer hardware and software. The IRS also is planning to develop early warning and notification systems to identify issues and alert taxpayers earlier.
It will be interesting to see what changes occur to the IRS over the next five years. Hopefully, we will see significant improvements that make interactions easier and more productive.