National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins recently joined the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Town Hall Series to discuss the IRS’s new Strategic Operating Plan (SOP) for the $80 billion appropriated to the IRS through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
During the conversation, hosted by Jan Lewis, Chair of the AICPA Executive Tax Committee, Collins also provided an update on the 2023 filing season and IRS tax return processing backlog.
“For the current filing season, we are in a substantially better place than we have been in the last three years,” Says Collins. “On one hand we had a very low bar, but we are closer to pre-pandemic levels. If you are filing an electronic return, most people are getting refunds, as long as there is not a problem, usually in about a week. For paper we are probably looking at four to six weeks, which is remarkable because about a year ago it would have been in excess of six months. They really have come a long way.”
When discussing the IRA funding, the National Taxpayer Advocate expressed cautious enthusiasm with the IRS’s SOP and took the opportunity to advocate for the importance of using the IRA funds to improve taxpayer service and modernize the IRS’s antiquated IT systems.
Collins explains, “IRS has never had access to long-term funding, so to be able to plan, not just one year ahead under appropriation budget, but to be able to look forward is really an exciting time. I think it is going to give the IRS a possibility to come up with different and novel ideas of how we can do things better, and from the meetings I have been on, they are listening, they are trying to figure out how do we do things better.”
The full discussion is available to listen to on-demand at the AICPA website or the AICPA Town Hall Series podcast. You can also get more more details of the National Taxpayer Advocate’s analysis of how the IRS’s SOP has the potential to transform tax administration by reading or listening to the NTA Blog.