The Internal Revenue Service recently delivered two big doses of positive news for the 2016 tax season: lower IRS audit rates and better phone service. Both come as a relief for taxpayers, especially after the excessive number of disconnects and long wait telephone wait times experienced in 2015. But do not celebrate just yet; the IRS plans to target the wealthy and may even deploy some additional measures and strategies to enforce payment.
Budget Increase for Taxpayer Assistance
According to the IRS Commissioner, the agency received congressional approval for a $290 million budget increase on taxpayer assistance. This will enable hiring of up to an additional 1,000 customer service representatives. With the help of those additional employees, the agency hopes to get all wait times under 20 minutes – a slight improvement on the 23 minutes on the 2015 tax season. They are also looking to significantly decrease the number of accidental disconnects, which spiked to about 8.8 million during last year’s tax season.
Lower Audit Rates
Although this is the agency’s first major increase in six years, they claim they have no intentions of using the additional funds on tax compliance or enforcement. If anything, they plan to use any additional funding on customer-service related concerns like IRS cybersecurity and tax-refund identity theft. However, they have mentioned that they plan to concentrate their audit focus on the very wealthy in the coming tax year.
The IRS claims that the focus is intentional to ensure enforcement among the wealthy. However, there are experts who say that a concentration on the wealthy increases both productivity and wealth for the IRS. Whatever the reason, earners of $5 or $10 million per year can expect increased scrutiny this year, especially if compared to the audit risk of those who make just $300,000 per year.
Passport Revocation and Back Taxes
Signed into late law last year, the IRS now has the ability to revoke passports for those that are in serious debt to the IRS. They are still working out the small details but, essentially, they plan to focus on those that owe more than $50,000 in back taxes. Those that already have an arrangement and are actively working with the IRS will not likely suffer any consequences, however.
Get Help with Your IRS Debt, Contact a Skilled Attorney Today
If you owe the IRS back taxes, do not wait for another tax year to pass you by. Now is the perfect time to work out a solution, and the Law Offices of Eric Zelazny can help. With experience as both a CPA and an IRS tax attorney, our offices can assist you in working directly with the IRS to work toward the best possible outcome for your unique situation. Learn more by scheduling your free initial consultation with a skilled Tinley Park IRS tax attorney. Call 708-888-2299 today.