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NSA meets with IRS to discuss announced retirement of Disclosure Authorization and Electronic Account Resolution options on e-Services

IRS Building

Update 7/15/13:

In a follow-up call Friday with stakeholders, the IRS confirmed that the Disclosure Authorization and Electronic Account Resolution options on e-Services will in fact be retired by August 11 of this year.

Steve Manning, IRS Deputy Director of Strategy and Modernization explained that the current e-service portal contract is set to expire this August. IRS plans to launch a new, more flexible portal in August.  The existing portal has numerous limitations with upgrading apps that require authentication whereas the new portal will allow more flexibility in this area. The IRS plans to use this increased functionality to launch a “Get Transcripts” online app with viewable, printable transcripts.  As of now, a January 2014 launch is planned for the transcript app and will be made available to any individual who can authenticate online using a Level 2, 3rd party level of authentication (prior year AGI will not be required).  

Numerous NSA members have voiced concerns about the e-services retirement placing added pressure and wait time on the PPS line. IRS commented that staffing will be adjusted accordingly to at a minimum maintain the existing level of service for the PPS line.  Additionally, IRS expressed a commitment  to maintaining the existing 3 day turnaround on POAs submitted through CAF. 

Original Blog 6/13/13: 

 As we reported in MemberLink, the IRS announced earlier this week that Disclosure Authorization and Electronic Account Resolution options on e-Services will be retired on Aug. 11.  More information is available on the IRS website at: http://1.usa.gov/150VO2j

 Following predictable outrage in the tax professional community, NSA Executive Vice President John Ams and others met with the IRS to discuss why these services are being retired and options to allow these services to be continued.  We were told the computer platform housing the two applications is about ten years old and the IRS is migrating other applications on the platform to a newer system.  This migration process requires computer programming and the IRS determined it was not worth the time and expense to do so.

Questions we raised with the IRS included:

  1. When was this decision made and why are we only hearing about it now?  Predictably, there was not a good answer to this question.  As near as we can tell, none of the IRS people who made the decision actually used either the Disclosure Authorization or Electronic Account Resolution options and believed the retirement of these options was an easy way for the IRS to save money.  This decision was made some time ago.  It remains unclear why we are hearing about it only now rather than when there was time to properly address the issue or find alternatives.
  2. Why August 11?  The IRS was not able to provide an answer to this question at all.  We asked, why is it not possible to keep the “computer platform” plugged in after August 11?  Why August 11 if the IRS fiscal year ends on September 30?  No adequate responses.
  3. How was the usage data computed to justify the retirement?  The IRS officials did not have all of the data available and will get back to us.  
  4. Did the budget savings anticipated by the retirement by the IRS technology department take into account the added burden on the IRS customer service department?  What about the added burden on tax professionals, who prepare more than 60% of all returns submitted to the IRS?  The IRS will get back to us on that as well.
  5. How will tax administration be better served with this change?  You didn’t really think they were going to answer this, did you? 

The IRS is going to regroup and meet with us as soon as practicable to respond to these and other concerns raised at the meeting.  We will keep everyone informed as we work with the IRS to develop a tax professional-friendly resolution of this issue.


John Ams  John G. Ams
Executive Vice President
National Society of Accountants
Alexandria, VA


4 Comments

  1. 1 Richard R. Dillon 19 Jun
    I am extremely disappointed in the IRS decision to close down the electronic resolution feature of e-services on August 11.  I have several cases in my client load that depend heavily on this service to get answers in a  reasonable time frame.
     As was suggested by another person to this blog, I would support a massive petition drive to keep the e-services program in place.  The practitioner priority line is next to useless because of the wait time and quality of responses received from the IRS employees. Please, NSA, do whatever you can to stop this very bad decision for tax practitioners!
  2. 2 Ronald de Ramon CPA 18 Jun
    My office uses the system quite a bit, despite many issues with the IRS computer system. If they do close the system an alternative messaging system for account resolution needs to be implemented. Our current electronic systems in society really demand this over the old call and wait to speak to someone.
    Perhaps a petition with professionals asking for the service should be established. That or call your US senator en mass.
  3. 3 Kathy Hettick 14 Jun
    It seems quite a step backward to do away with this system. I use it as well, and while it can be cumbersome, you do get quick responses and resolution. This will only put added pressure and wait time on the practitioner priority line which is already so difficult to get through on.   
  4. 4 Shelli Dodson 14 Jun
    I ABSOLUTELY HATE that they are doing away with these services.  I use ERA all the time!  The DA system was clunky but nice when I needed immediate access.  I hate waiting for an hour on the phone just to be told they can only help with one client and they have to fax it...which can take another hour.

    The answers from the ERA have always been much better than the phone answers and I have it in writing.  

    I hope they keep the system.

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