The Internal Revenue Service said Friday that it is delaying the planned retirement of its Disclosure Authorization and Electronic Account Resolution online applications for three weeks.

The recent announcement that the IRS planned to shut down the pair of popular e-Services apps provoked an outcry in the tax practitioner community, along with efforts by a number of accounting and tax preparer groups to convince the IRS to keep them open (see Thousands of Practitioners Protest End of e-Services Tools and NSA Talks to IRS about Keeping e-Services Open).

In an email to tax professionals Friday, the IRS indicated that the closure of the applications has been delayed, but only temporarily. “The planned retirement of Disclosure Authorization and Electronic Account Resolution on Aug. 11 has been delayed until Sept. 2 while IRS completes the transition to a new web portal,” said the IRS. “DA and EAR users have an additional three weeks to use both electronic products. Once the portal transition work is complete, DA and EAR will then be retired as previously planned and will be unavailable for use.”

The IRS’s contract with its previous portal provider has reportedly lapsed and, in a cost-cutting move, it dispensed with some of the applications the old portal hosted while transitioning to what it expects to be a more secure portal. The IRS also claimed that the two applications that are being retired, Disclosure Authorization and Electronic Account Resolution, suffered from comparatively low usage, with users submitting less than 10 percent of all disclosure authorizations through the DA application and only 3 percent of all account-related issues through the EAR application. However, an online petition submitted by tax software developer New River Innovation attracted nearly 4,000 signatures from practitioners. Representatives from groups such as the American Institute of CPAs, the National Society of Accountants, the National Conference of CPA Practitioners, the National Association of Tax Professionals and the National Association of Enrolled Agents have met with the IRS in recent months to try to persuade officials to keep the services open.

Once the IRS removes the two applications, the IRS said that former Disclosure Authorization users will need to complete Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, or Form 8821, Tax Information Authorizations, and mail or fax it to the appropriate IRS location listed on the form’s instructions (see IRS to Shut Down Disclosure Authorization and Electronic Account Resolution Apps).

The IRS has said to allow at least four days for the authorization to post to the IRS database before requesting a transcript through the Transcript Delivery System. Former users of the Electronic Account Resolution application should call the Practitioner Priority Service at (866) 860-4259 for help resolving account-related issues.

However, tax practitioners have pointed out that the IRS has often been slow to respond to the phone calls and faxes, and the online applications were a much more efficient way to accomplish the tasks, especially with the repeated budget cuts at the IRS reducing the customer service staff. The IRS said it continues to look for ways to improve its current processes and is exploring an improved electronic solution for DA and EAR in the future.

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