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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Tech observation in President's FY2020 budget proposal for IRS

President Trump released his FY2020 budget proposal on March 12. [A Budget for a Better America – Promises Kept. Taxpayers First, page 82] It slightly increases IRS funding to “expand and strengthen tax enforcement.” Such efforts “are estimated to generate approximately $47 billion in additional revenue at a cost of $15 billion, yielding a net savings of $33 billion over 10 years.  The Budget also includes several proposals to ensure that taxpayers comply with their obligations and that tax refunds are only paid to those who are eligible, including:  improving oversight of paid tax preparers; giving IRS the authority to correct more errors on tax returns before refunds are issued; requiring a valid Social Security Number for work in order to claim certain tax credits; and in-creasing wage and information reporting.”

The budget also notes that there is $290 million for the IRS’ multiyear effort to modernize its IT. The report notes that while about 90% of individuals file electronically, most other interactions between the IRS and taxpayers is via the mail, “which slows the resolution of issues.”

That is a true and interesting observation. 89% of individuals e-file there return. Yet other interactions with the IRS will be by phone or the U.S. Post Office. Will IT modernization include taxpayer accounts where taxpayer not only pay their taxes but can also change withholding, make estimated tax payments, amend their return, etc.?

Today, March 13, the IRS issues a news release that $1.4 billion is waiting to be claimed by individuals who have not yet filed their 2015 returns! [IR-2019-38] If tax compliance were done virtually, with the IRS using data it has, the filing could be done automatically and refunds issued to bank accounts. Or at least the IRS could more easily reach taxpayer via a text message, for example, to let them know they need to file and are likely owed a refund.

What do you think?


Connie Buckman said...

Excellent! That would be wonderful IF IRS would notify taxpayers via text or email. Of course, how would that information be given to IRS and how would security be set up to insure false emails would not attempt to scam the taxpayer? Great ideas, Annette!

21st century taxation (Annette Nellen) said...

Thanks for the comment Connie. Ideally, taxpayers would have online accounts and the owner would be notified by a message icon showing up on your app. The IRS could help the taxpayer get the return filed and direct them to resources to understand their tax situation.