Non-filers, fraud are priorities for IRS SB/SE

Advice

A new report from the IRS Small Business/Self Employed Division reveals that in Fiscal Year 2019 the division devoted attention to the agency-wide issue of non-filers and fraud.

The report, a 28-page overview billed as annual from now on, focuses on program highlights, priorities and accomplishments of the SB/SE organization and its employees. SB/SE services about 57 million taxpayers.

Among the division’s initiatives:

  • Its effort to whittle down the non-filer portion of the tax gap includes identifying and prioritizing non-filer work “that maximizes dollars collected,” through programs built to encourage voluntary taxpayer filing and increase operational efficiencies across existing non-filer programs. Among other moves, in FY19 the SB/SE updated the taxpayer delinquent investigation allocation models and rules within the Inventory Delivery System and helped cut processing time for Collection Automated Substitute for Return cases.
  • SB/SE is home of the IRS Fraud Program Office, which helps develop indicators of fraud into referrals to Criminal Investigation or recommendations to assert civil fraud penalties. SB/SE leadership emphasized pinpointing fraud cases; the division also collaborated with CI to create a fraud awareness video for IRS employees, and partnered with CI field offices in conducting fraud awareness workshops, among other moves.
  • The division is working on its first “modernized roadmap” to support digital communications with taxpayers, including text chat, secure messaging and secure file transfer. Future efforts could include virtual assistance, co-browsing and chatbots.
  • SB/SE began virtual/cryptocurrency audits and Bank Secrecy Act examinations of virtual currency exchanges and kiosk operators, while SB/SE Collection began specialized training for subject matter experts. The division is updating specific instructions to account for changes, including advising taxpayers to list virtual currency assets and include their value on 433s and updating instructions in Publications 1854 and 5059 and Form 656.

Upcoming and ongoing priorities for the division include streamlining penalty relief, enhancements to automated collection, tip reporting, and disaster relief.

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