Last December, President Trump signed the latest tax reform law, and most of those changes will take effect in the upcoming filing season. The challenge? IRS still doesn’t have all the guidance it needs for full implementation, and it continues to face challenging cuts to its workforce and budget.
Dennis Ventry Jr., Chairman of the IRS Advisory Council (IRSAC) said, “Tax reform implementation this year was just a nightmare. Their personnel had to work on reform this year when they otherwise would’ve been working on something else. So, in some respects, it was a lost year when it came to the initiatives that the IRS was currently working on.”
For the last 7 years, Congress has cut the IRS’ annual budget by 16%.
IRSAC wrote in its report that these cuts “have meant less of everything from personnel to training to taxpayer assistance to enforcement activities to compliance to systems modernization and, ultimately, to tax revenue.”
IRS employees continue to receive guidance on implementing the tax reform law; the season begins in January.
“Guidance is still trickling out and I’m not even sure they’re going to have all the guidance out by the end of the year,” he said.
The Treasury Inspector General on Tax Administration (TIGTA) expressed concerns that the 2019 filing season could face delays due to workload and missed IT deadlines. They estimated it would take more than a million work hours to update 450 forms and 140 IT systems in time for the tax season.
National Treasury Employees union agrees with IRSAC about IRS’ budget. “The opening of the new tax filing season is around the corner and front-line IRS employees are worried that they will not be fully trained on the massive changes to the new tax code,” Tony Reardon, NTEU National President said. “Taxpayers and business owners are going to demand quick and accurate answers to their questions, and the agency needs 2019 appropriations to help hire, train, and equip them to be ready.”