On April 3, 2018, the National Association of Enrolled Agents, in collaboration with other professional organizations and former agency executives, sent a report on reforming the Internal Revenue Service to chairmen and ranking members of the congressional tax writing committees.

The report, entitled “Ensuring a Modern-Functioning IRS for the 21st Century,” is not intended to fix all the problems of the agency, but should be seen as a positive step toward providing consensus and direction for Administration and congressional policymakers as they move forward with tax reform later this year. The recommendations are as follows:

  • Any effort to modernize the business practices and technology of the IRS should build on the foundation established by the Report of the National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service (report released June 25, 1997).
  • As part of Congressional oversight, we recommend re-establishing the annual joint hearing review. The Joint Committee on Taxation should provide a bi-annual report on the overall state of the Federal tax system.
  • The GAO should review the IRS Oversight Board and determine if it is an essential component to allow the IRS to become a respected, service-oriented organization.
  • We recommend enabling and encouraging the IRS to utilize the full range of available authorities to hire and compensate qualified and experienced professionals from the private sector, as needed, to improve the Service’s ability to meet its mission.
  • The legislative and executive branches should determine the appropriate level of service and compliance they want the IRS accountable to provide and then dedicate appropriate resources for the agency to meet those goals.
  • Customer satisfaction surveys are valuable and should continue as an appropriate success measure for the agency.
  • The IRS should provide circular 230 tax practitioners with a tax professional account as part of the IRS’s Future State efforts. IRS should focus its attention on replacing the Centralized Authorization File (CAF) with a consolidated online solution utilizing electronic signatures and an algorithmic-driven approval process that is as close to real time as possible.
  • It is crucial for the IRS to designate a new dedicated “executive-level” practitioner services unit.

NAEA looks forward to presenting these recommendations to Congress during this year’s NAEA Fly-in on May 17th. The official joint press release and report can be found here.