Amid Chaos, IRS Attempts A Return To Normal

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The e-filing of individual tax returns for the 2022 filing season opens on January 24. The tax deadline is Monday, April 18, 2022. The recent inauguration of individual e-filing began on the Tuesday after the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. , Individual e-filing did not open till February 12 in 2021. In 2020 it opened on 27 January. This year’s opening appears to be moving the needle towards a more general opening in mid-January. The filing deadline of April 18 has also become normal after the extended deadline of July 17, 2020 and May 17, 2021. Friday, April 15, 2022 is the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, DC, which is why the deadline has been moved to Monday, April 18. It almost seems normal. About.

While the start and end lines of filing Season 2022 have a general sway about them, everything in between stinks. It stinks of hope bordering on confusion and it stinks of IRS rot. When it comes to considering “known unknowns,” such as the effects of economic impact payments (stimulus money) and advance payments of the Child Tax Credit (CTC), the IRS doesn’t seem to be deluded. The commissioner is taking every opportunity that has been proposed to urge taxpayers and tax practitioners to file accurately and electronically. Each channel the IRS is using is to remind taxpayers to look for letters 6419 and 6475 (which provide the amounts of advance CTC payments and EIPs, respectively). It is the apparent failure of the Commissioner to consider the “unknown unknowns” that leads to confusion.

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While the IRS Commissioner (in a recent statement) and National Taxpayer Advocate (in his most recent reportWhile open about the prospect of another tough filing season, they have not considered the possibility of creating another patchwork of filing deadlines for natural disasters. The May 17 deadline in 2021 was not the deadline for Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana due to winter storms. The Louisiana time frame was re-adjusted after Hurricane Ida. In late April 2021 the May 17, 2021 deadline was extended for some Kentucky counties due to the impact of the hurricane and the list of affected counties adjusted to June 28, 2021 (two days before the extended June 30 filing deadline). It was done Alabama taxpayers received an extension until August 2 at the end of April 2021. In September New York and New Jersey extended their deadlines because of Hurricane Ida. That’s just a sample; the list goes on.

Other unnamed commissioners fail to consider that there are ongoing effects of the pandemic. His statement was released on January 10, 2022, amid the Omicron variant boom. It is not clear at this time whether this surge is peaking, and it is not clear how the current surge will affect IRS staffing levels during the filing season. Whatever the effects are, it is unlikely that they will improve return processing or response times.

This is the beginning of January 2022. It’s unlikely that natural disasters will slow down and predicting pandemics has proven elusive, so why not plan for the worst and issue a pre-emptive extension of the filing deadline until July? Early filers will still file early. The procrastinators will still procrastinate. Extending the deadline to the middle of the year will ease some of the confusion that has arisen from yet another reactive patchwork of federal deadlines due to yet another inclement weather year or more COVID-related staffing issues.

And then there’s rot. Yes, the IRS has been underutilized over the years. Yes, veterans retired and were never replaced because of funding cuts. Yes Congress is asking the IRS to do more with less. But at some point the IRS needs to acknowledge some systemic failures in its processes and possibly its culture. One such systemic failure was the continuation of automated notice processing despite mail and phone backlogs. Taxpayers and tax practitioners continue to receive second and third notices, each more aggressive than the last, about issues that were addressed by mailing the first notices that have either been closed or unprocessed by the IRS. This is a procedural failure.

Cultural failure is the idea that temporarily withholding automatic notices or providing some sort of blanket punitive relief or temporarily giving more experienced customer service representatives (or their supervisors) more autonomy to reduce penalties until the IRS Doesn’t clean up your mail backlog, it’s some kind of outrageous moral failing which will result in massive taxpayer non-compliance. The idea is to give taxpayers some slack in the midst of another chaotic filing season that would turn otherwise law-abiding taxpayers into tax-opposing scoffs. The idea is that their kindness would be considered a weakness. Perhaps this is the case, but the fact is that our tax system is based on voluntary compliance and there is a complete inability to obtain assistance when trying to voluntarily comply with one’s tax obligations or to exercise one’s rights under tax laws. can. (or more) an incentive for compliance in the form of a lack of enforcement. Unfortunately, going into the third filing season under the rules of the pandemic, it seems that we have yet to find a way out of rock bottom and this abyss.

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