(From Accounting Today)
The Internal Revenue Service plans to transition more of its services for taxpayers to online, automated self-service options next tax season to save money and manpower.
The changes were made following input from stakeholders in the tax community and reflect the need for increased use of automated self-service options.
With limited resources to support person-to-person services on the phone or at Taxpayer Assistance Centers, the IRS is emphasizing services, such as those found on IRS.gov, to help meet a number of taxpayer needs, said the IRS. This approach will free up IRS assistors on the phone or in person to help with issues that cannot be resolved through other avenues, such as issues involving identity theft.
The changes for the 2014 filing season affect tax return preparation, transcript delivery, tax law assistance, tax refund inquiries, Employer Identification Number, and the Practitioner Priority Service. The IRS said that many of the automated services will be available 24 hours and seven days a week.
Among the changes will be the elimination of tax prep services at IRS walk-in centers. In recent years, the IRS said it has been preparing fewer tax returns for taxpayers at its walk-in offices. Tax preparation has only been available in a limited format at some IRS offices and not every day of the week at some locations. In addition, taxpayers had to have income below the Earned Income Tax Credit thresholds to receive such assistance.