Accounting group concerned about IRS budget cuts

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The National Society of Accountants has called the IRS budget appropriation now under consideration “a disservice” to taxpayers and inadequate, even for the IRS needs of a decade ago — let alone at the dawn of massive new tax reform.

“The IRS Division responsible for responding to taxpayer telephone calls estimates that it would be able to respond to only 60 percent of calls during the 2018 filing season,” said NSA executive director John Ams in a statement. “It’s even more distressing that they estimate that for the entire 2018 fiscal year, less than 40 percent of calls will be answered. This is unacceptable.”

In a letter to the House Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, Ams and NSA president Brian Thompson, a CPA, urged committee members to bump money for the IRS from the slightly more than $11 billion proposed.

“The budget recommendation would fund the IRS, in total, below their fiscal year 2008 level,” noted Ams, citing a report from the House Subcommittee on Appropriations.

Without adequate funding, the IRS will have to cut staff and training, curtail efforts to fight identity theft and refund fraud, and fall short in modernizing technology systems that currently interfere with some electronic filing, the society contends.

And that’s without reckoning with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: “In the midst of one of the largest tax reform initiatives in more than 30 years, we are seeing budget cuts to the one organization responsible for establishing definitive guidance and regulations and helping interpret provisions,” Thompson noted. “We question whether many of the estimated benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act can be realized in the absence of … IRS guidance.”

The IRS received $11.2 billion in funding in 2017, a decrease of some $900 million since 2010. Some Republican leaders, including Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., recently indicated according to published reports they may be open to increasing the IRS budget to deal with the new tax law.

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Trump tax plan Tax reform IRS National Society of Accountants