Explaining the IRS Strategic Plan for FY 2018-2022
The Service has a Strategic Plan fiscal years 2018 – 2022. The Plan starts off with Publication 1, which is the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, followed by a letter from acting Commissioner David J. Kautter.
The letter begins stating that the priority is to implement and enforce Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Public Law 115-97). The letter goes on to say that the Service is:
Providing service to taxpayers is a vital part of the IRS mission, and helping taxpayers voluntarily comply with the law strengthens our tax system. Our five-year Strategic Plan focuses on six goals that will help drive continued improvements in the customer experience. We’ll continue to provide, expand and improve service where, when and how taxpayers and tax professionals want and expect it. We’re modernizing our approach to make taxpayers’ experiences similar to the way they interact with private sector institutions. We’re working toward providing a wide array of electronic tax account options, while improving service over the phone and face-to-face.
The six strategic goals are as follows:
- Empower and enable all taxpayers to meet their tax obligations. We will empower taxpayers by making it easier for them to understand and meet their filing, reporting and payment obligations. We continue to add and enhance tools and support to improve taxpayers’ and tax professionals’ interactions with the IRS on whichever channel they prefer.
- Protect the integrity of the tax system by encouraging compliance through administering and enforcing the tax code. The American tax system is based on voluntary compliance and supported by appropriate enforcement. As part of our efforts to close the tax gap, we will pursue innovative approaches to understand, detect and resolve potential noncompliance. We will use behavioral insights on how people process and react to information. This will inform how we design programs to encourage voluntary compliance.
- Collaborate with external partners proactively to improve tax administration. Partnerships with our stakeholders enrich service to taxpayers. Collaboration will yield innovative solutions to pressing problems, improving the taxpayer experience. We will engage partners to improve service and outreach to taxpayers, enhance global collaboration and share leading practices.
- Cultivate a well-equipped, diverse, flexible and engaged workforce. Our employees are committed to serving the American taxpayer. We strive for a culture that values innovation, welcomes multiple perspectives and celebrates diversity. Our approach to development will be complemented by a forward-looking talent management strategy that considers future business and stakeholder needs.
- Advance data access, usability and analytics to inform decision making and improve operational outcomes. We’ll continue to use data to drive decisions and make the most effective use of our resources. Advancements across the full data lifecycle — from collection to storage to access to analysis — will allow us to better deploy data and implement insights. Improving data and analytics provides a repeatable process for selecting and assigning work.
- Drive increased agility, efficiency, effectiveness and security in IRS operations. We will focus on streamlining and simplifying our business processes to serve taxpayers better and improve our stewardship of taxpayer resources. Efficient operations and modern infrastructure are the foundation of a stable, reliable organization and are essential elements of sustaining excellent service and enforcement capabilities. Strong data systems are critical to safeguarding taxpayer and employee data from threats.
The Plan goes on to say that the IRS spends 35 cents to collect every $100 owed in taxes. One interesting thing is that the Service states that they will be expanding their digital methods to give taxpayers and tax professionals easier access to the system. However, in the same breath they mention that the Service will beef up their telephone support for both taxpayers and professionals, (aka…no more courtesy disconnects, I suppose).
One important thing that the Plan states is that 35 percent of the IRS workforce will be retiring soon. The IRS states that they will bring in fresh agents with an average age of 25. Training, is a big issue with me.
With the current regime, I know that training is nil to the workforce, however in the Plan the IRS states that training is a main concern. The National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA), has been vocal about the need to train new staff as well as the old staff.
I know that I have been very vocal about the abuses of the IRS, however it is my hope that the IRS’s strategic plan is something that the IRS puts into place.
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Craig W. Smalley, MST, EA, has been in practice since 1994. He has been admitted to practice before the IRS as an enrolled agent and has a master's in taxation. He is well-versed in US tax law and US Tax Court cases. He specializes in taxation, entity structuring and restructuring, corporations, partnerships, and individual taxation, as well as...