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Recently proposed legislation to reform the Internal Revenue Service “must consider the unique needs of the tax professional in serving taxpayers,” according to the National Association of Tax Professionals.

“There is still a gap that exists between the current draft and where we believe the bill should be to effectively address the needs of the 79 million taxpayers who choose to use the services of a professional tax preparer,” wrote NATP executive director Scott Artman and president Gerard Cannito in a letter to the subcommittee.

“An issue that is not addressed in this bill is the definition of a paid preparer. There are millions of taxpayers who utilize tax preparation software, powered by artificial intelligence. Despite the advice and guidance provided by the artificial intelligence, FAQs and quick chat screen answers, there is not the same level of responsibility or due diligence on the tax preparation software company, like that placed on a paid and/or signing tax preparer,” the association added in a comment letter regarding the draft language in the act.

“Congress must consider the need to provide oversight of all forms of tax preparation services, ensuring taxpayers are receiving qualified service,” Artman and Cannito added.

The NATP letter expressed support for a restructuring of the IRS, a clear and specific customer service strategy, and more representation of tax professionals in efforts to combat identity theft and improve cybersecurity.

House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., and ranking member John Lewis, D-Ga., released a discussion draft of the Taxpayer First Act last month. Among other provisions, the bill would codify the IRS Independent Office of Appeals and provide more congressional oversight over decisions to withhold taxpayers from the administrative review process.

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Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson is a veteran freelance journalist who previously served as editor of The Practical Accountant.