The IRS took a step toward modernizing its procedures this week, a welcome step after the troubles it encountered during the pandemic.
The new digital feature makes it easier for taxpayers and tax professionals to move accounts online and avoid paper forms, the IRS said Monday. The feature, Tax Pro Account, lets individuals give a tax practitioner Power of Attorney (POA) and lets the professional view taxpayers’ accounts with a Tax Information Authorization (TIA).
The tax professional must use Tax Pro Account, available on IRS.gov, to request a POA or TIA, which will then show up in the taxpayer’s online account. The taxpayer reviews the request and approves—or rejects—it. If approved, access to the taxpayer’s information will usually be available to the POA within 48 hours.
Digitizing the tax system has been a goal of the IRS for some years, but efforts were accelerated after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down most offices and kept millions of people at home, severely hampering the agency’s ability to serve taxpayers and tax professionals.
Full Digital Ahead
The IRS said Monday’s launch of Tax Pro is a significant step because it eliminates the need to print, fill out, and mail forms that must be manually processed by the IRS, which could take weeks. The IRS expects to increase options for electronic interactions in the future.
"The ability for taxpayers to connect online with their tax professional is a groundbreaking step for the IRS," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, in a release. "This is the first, basic step toward a more fully integrated digital tax system that will benefit taxpayers, tax professionals and the IRS."
The new feature is available only to individual taxpayers with a U.S. address, not to businesses or other entities. Tax professionals must be in good standing with the IRS and be authorized to access the IRS database.