[IMGCAP(1)]Any accountant that has ever dealt with the IRS knows it’s typically not a smooth process. The IRS website can be difficult to navigate, which translates into hours of research looking for the proper forms, formatting guidelines and general information. Then there is the lengthy submission process. You send in what you hope is the correct forms package, and maybe you hear back from the IRS in 60 days (and don’t forget to call for an update).

When you do, if there is an issue with any form, you can count on another lengthy period before you hear back again. Of course, all the while you have an anxiety-stricken client who just wants the matter put to bed. Some firms have gotten a little more organized by maintaining a file of notice templates, but it’s still a time-consuming manual process.

With a master’s degree in taxation, I know the importance of practice and procedure. The problem is that general procedures of the IRS continue to elude most firms. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a system in place to automate the IRS response process—complete with the ability to analyze the client’s situation, a library of standard notices, and up-to-date protocol on response. Good news! There finally is.

I was recently given a demo of a new IRS response product for the profession. The SaaS-based system provides tools for quick and easy research and evaluation and guides practitioners through the process—all the way through to pre-populating the necessary documents including IRS forms, cover letters, worksheets, and more.

All this means that the IRS issue process can be automated. For all the newbies out there, you don’t have to invest years collecting templates and building your own database of notice instructions and procedures.

For all the established professionals, you can throw out all the paper you’ve collected so far. This particular solution is called Beyond415 and is worth checking out.

The IRS is always going to be part of the tax pro’s working life, so finding ways to streamline a traditionally paper-heavy and complex process is a necessity. Technology is the key to streamlining procedure, so I am always on the lookout for new innovations.