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The IRS’ Heavy Reliance on the Online Account Benefits

From the Desk of Lauran L. Stevenson

The IRS’ Heavy Reliance on the Online Account Benefits

In December of 2016, the IRS launched a new taxpayer service that is supposed to assist taxpayers “with straightforward balance inquires in a safe, easy and convenient way.” The tool is on the IRS website and allows taxpayers to view account balances, taxes owed, penalties and interest. Taxpayers can also sign up for direct pay to the IRS.

According to the TAS (Taxpayer Advocate Service), as much as this new service can benefit taxpayers, multiple taxpayer rights have been impacted:
• The Right to be Informed
• The Right to Quality Service
• The Right to Pay No More Than the Correct Amount of Tax
• The Right to Confidentiality

In the first few months of the release of this new taxpayer account service, only 21 percent of log in attempts were successful since the application launched. The e-authentication has been creating a host of issues that the IRS currently recognizes, including security implications on taxpayers that may limit access to the account, and force the taxpayer to contact the IRS by phone or in taxpayer assistance centers.

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