Improving IRS practitioner services.

Author:Freeh, Cheri H.

Currently, the first point of contact for practitioners looking to obtain help for their clients is the IRS's Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) phone line at 866-860-4259. In addition to providing phone services for practitioners, the IRS has developed e-Services, a suite of web-based tools that allows tax professionals to complete transactions online. To access these services, practitioners must register and create an account that uses multifactor authentication.

Once a practitioner is registered, the following information can be accessed:

* Transcript Delivery System (TDS): To view a client's return and account information.

* Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) Matching: To validate TIN and name combinations before submitting information returns. Bulk and interactive options are available.

* Other services: E-file provider services to apply and participate in e-filing of returns, Affordable Care Act (ACA) services to e-file ACA-related information returns, and state agency services.

While these tools can be of great help to practitioners, they are not without issues. Hold times on IRS phone lines can be long, individual IRS departments do not always effectively communicate internally, the registration process can be daunting, and setting up multifactor authentication requires practitioners to provide their own sensitive personal information that has no connection to the taxpayer they are trying to assist.

For many years the AICPA Tax Division has worked diligently to improve the situation for members. Members of various committees within the Tax Division, along with many key AICPA staff members, have worked to bring the various issues to the attention of the IRS and Congress. In 2015, the AICPA's governing Council adopted a resolution regarding tax administration (available at In addition, the AICPA has provided written testimony to members of Congress, has communicated regularly with the IRS, and recently took the issue directly to members of Congress as part of the AICPA spring Council meeting.

On July 1, the Taxpayer First Act, PL. 116-25, was signed into law. It calls for modernizing the IRS's...

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