Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Chuck Rettig had high praise for the nation’s tax professionals this week, as he addressed the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum.
The event, usually held in various cities around the U.S., was forced online this year by the pandemic.
In their coverage of the event, Accounting Today’s Editor-in-Chief, Michael Cohn reports Rettig thanked tax practitioners for their cooperation during the extended tax season. He said while many tax professionals had a challenging tax season, for many, it’s not over yet. Until the October 15 deadline passes, Rettig added, there are still returns to be filed.
Rettig was a tax practitioner himself before taking the reins of the IRS some two years ago, and his remarks show he hasn’t forgotten his roots.
“I think it’s important at the outset to thank all of you for the critical support you provided this filing season, and every year,” Rettig said. “As tax professionals, you play an essential role in the tax system by helping your clients fulfill their filing obligations. We should never forget how important your efforts are to tax administration, and to our country.”
Cohn writes that the commissioner also thanked tax pros for the input the IRS has gotten from them on a number of issues. He stressed that the IRS does indeed pay attention – whether or not the agency follows the recommendations.
“There are reasons why the IRS may not fully change into something that you might think would be obvious. It’s a big operation, a federal agency with a lot of different responsibilities, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t listen and pay attention to suggestions that people have,” Rettig said. “So your efforts to try to help us are well received and will never be lost on us.”
When he was a tax professional, Rettig remembered, he thought that tax administration doesn’t belong to anyone. He still thinks that, he said, but the real answer is wider now. “It belongs to everyone, so the IRS has been laboring more on trying to get it right. I think that as tax professionals we all have a piece of that responsibility.”
Entering the Virtual World
The commissioner is “excited” about the IRS’ future, Accounting Today reports. Cohn writes that Rettig points with pride to the agency’s swivel to telework during the early weeks of the pandemic, when some 56,000 workers were working from home, out of a total workforce of about 80,000.
Furthermore, Rettig said, the IRS developed two additional online tools during the pandemic that more fully use virtual access to personal tax information. The Non-Filers tool allows people who normally do not have an obligation to file taxes the ability to enter basic information so they could get their Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) more quickly. The Get My Payment tool lets many taxpayers check the status of their payments.
Rettig conceded that many people still have yet to get their EIP – a common complaint probably heard by many tax pros as well. While some may point to instances when the system broke down, Rettig said, the employees of the agency did a great job to get payments to the right people in millions of cases.
“We are working hard to get to the people that we have not gotten to yet in terms of payment,” Commissioner Rettig said. “There are some scenarios that did not come together as we would have hoped they would have come together, but I think it’s disrespectful to say to the employees of the Internal Revenue Service, considering the effort that they put forth from March to try to get this right.”
Next up on the agenda, Cohn reports, is a new round of stimulus legislation and the commissioner expects the IRS to repeat its distribution role. “And we will. We will do it as successfully as we can, and we will put everything back into place,” Rettig said. “To be on board during this period of time has been spectacular to watch it happen.”
Our thanks to Michael Cohn and Accounting Today for their original article.