The Internal Revenue Service is pilot testing a new program for conducting correspondence examinations of taxpayers using secure messaging technology that will also include their tax practitioners who have power of attorney.

In an email to tax professionals Friday, the IRS said it plans to invite approximately 8,000 taxpayers who are undergoing correspondence examinations to communicate with the agency via the new secure messaging technology. The pilot program, known as IRS Taxpayer Digital Communications (TDC) Secure Messaging, has already begun for correspondence examinations involving Schedule A and has now expanded to include several other issues.

The pilot program is by invitation only, the IRS noted. Taxpayers and their tax professionals who have valid powers of attorney can participate, but only if the client receives a marketing insert or letter saying they are eligible.

If they have any clients who are invited to participate, the IRS suggested tax professionals encourage them to volunteer for the pilot program. The tax practitioner’s power of attorney must already be on file with the IRS and showing on the Centralized Authorization File, or CAF, system before tax professionals can participate.

“After your client receives an invitation and registers via IRS Secure Access, you must also authenticate via IRS Secure Access under your own SSN and complete the ‘Request Access’ verification process,” said the IRS.

After the IRS verifies that the power of attorney has been authorized, tax pros will then have access to their own secure message mailbox in the new communications service, where they can receive copies of messages and communicate with IRS.

“The tax professional community is an important part of our process for improving customer service,” said the IRS. “We appreciate and value your input.”

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Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.