Some tax preparers continue to resist the IRS e-filing system

As the Internal Revenue Service pushes taxpayers to file more returns electronically, tax preparers continue to face challenges with the e-filing system, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. The 1998 IRS Restructuring and Reform Act required that 80 percent of tax returns be filed electronically by 2007, but the IRS missed that target. The agency then began modernizing its legacy e-filing system in 2004 and the deadline was extended until 2012. This year, preparers who expect to file more than 100 individual, trust or estate returns must do so electronically; in 2012, the e-file mandate will apply to all paid preparers who file 11 or more returns. Electronic filing is a critical component of modernizing the IRS, GAO said. The report, released Monday, was prepared at the request of Sens. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. "IRS has made significant progress increasing e-filing rates," the report said. "But it still has a way to go until it reaches its 80 percent goal." In 2010, 71 percent of all tax returns were filed electronically, according to a January GAO report. Although the IRS has taken several steps to implement the e-file mandate, including communicating the details and publishing the proposed regulations, professional preparers raised concerns regarding the timing, wrote auditor James R. White, director of tax issues at GAO. Preparers were required by Jan. 1 to obtain preparer tax identification numbers, which allows the IRS to identify individuals responsible for filing returns, and ensure they are compliant with the law. Firms that employ the preparers are required to have a separate electronic filing identification number. Tracking multiple ID numbers might raise administrative costs for the IRS. GAO recommended agency officials determine if it would be practical and cost-effective to use preparer's identification numbers as the authorizing number for e-filing. Preparers can request hardship waivers for the e-file requirement by submitting Form 8944, but GAO recommended the IRS add a sentence to the form explaining the benefits of electronic filing. In response to the report, IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement Steven T. Miller agreed with GAO's recommendations.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.