The IRS has recently announced intent to eliminate a service that ASTPS believes to be critical to tax problem resolution practitioners. In response to their announcement, I have appealed to National Taxpayer Advocate, Nina E. Olson, to use her influence to have this decision reversed. Her office has responded to my letter and they are looking into the matter. I will keep the membership posted as we hear from Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). I encourage members to contact their local TAS and request they notify the National Office of the need to keep this valuable service alive. Members can also help by making full use of the system as the reason they are planning on discontinuing the service as they find it to be under-utilized. Meanwhile, I have included below a copy of the letter sent to National Taxpayer Advocate Olson and the IRS news release regarding the the cessation of service.
Here is the copy of the letter to Nina E. Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate:
Dear Ms. Olson,
I am writing to request your support in reversing the retirement of certain e-services online tools for tax professionals as noted in the release copied below. Although the Service’s contention of low usage may be accurate, it is a critical tool used by qualified representatives. When a troubled taxpayer engages a representative, it is frequently critical to gain access to the taxpayer’s transcripts quickly. Troubled taxpayer’s should respond to contacts from ACS or Revenue Officers immediately. Therefore, it is imperative that the practitioner become informed of the taxpayer’s history quickly.
The ability to post the Power of Attorney online and thereby gain immediate access to transcripts allows taxpayer representatives to demonstrate cooperation with the IRS. If representatives have to await manual posting of Powers of Attorney by the CAF Unit cases that are presently acted on quickly, there will be an unnecessary delay in the representatives’ responses. Our experience is that faxing Power of Attorney forms to the CAF Unit can take up to two weeks for the POA to post.
The system for online posting of the Power of Attorney is presently operational. Presumably, the major costs of creation and implementation are already incurred. In your January report to Congress, you noted that the IRS should do more to make the services of the IRS available online. It appears this decision is moving in the opposite direction. Further, changing the system back to the former manual system will consume human resources that are, per your report, already strained.
I suggest the Service expand its outreach to practitioners to promote expanded utilization. As National Director of the American Society of Tax Problem Solvers and on behalf of our membership, I request that you use your influence to bring about reversal of the decision to retire this important tool.
Please advise me if you are able to assist us in this matter. In turn, I will advise the membership of American Society of Tax Problem Solvers your decision. Additionally, if we are able to save the system from retirement, I commit to promoting the usage of the system among our members.
Lawrence M. Lawler, CPA, EA, CTRS, NTPI Fellow
National Director – American Society of Tax Problem Solvers