Another busy tax season has ended and the time of year has arrived for Enrolled Agents to reflect upon ways of increasing their efficiency. A typical means for improvement is maintaining up-to-date knowledge with Enrolled Agent education courses. However, EAs can also develop better practices by learning to use the free tools for tax professionals on the IRS website.
In the past, an Enrolled Agent’s only access to IRS assistance was the telephone. With the introduction of IRS e-Services, lengthy phone navigation to obtain help on small issues is eliminated. Many Enrolled Agent jobs entail basic matters that are handled by the e-Services system. Just last year, tax practitioners substantially increased their utilization of e-Services.
Common uses associated of IRS e-Services are obtaining transcripts and filing authorization forms. The platform permits electronic submission of Form 2848 – Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative – and Form 8821 – Tax Information Authorization. These forms are commonly involved in conducting Enrolled Agent tax work representing new clients with IRS difficulties.
The e-Services tools include access to the Transcript Delivery System. This allows tax practitioners to easily obtain any of the five types of taxpayer transcripts. Electronic Account Resolution aids the problem-solving process. A tax pro with EA certification can use EAR to submit inquires and receive IRS responses without the telephone wait times involved in traditional Practitioner Priority Service calls. However, EAR is only available for resolving taxpayer account issues. The system does not handle matters involving audit, appeals, or collections.
Several e-Services features are applicable to the ordinary endeavors conducted by EAs. Discovering these tools will save time and reduce frustration. They are therefore fundamental paths for deployment of expertise from Enrolled Agent training. For example, an EA can obtain complete tax histories for new clients. Electronic copies of tax returns for the past three years are available as well as income reporting information for the past ten years. Especially vital is access to IRS adjustments of originally filed tax returns.
When using e-Services for procurement of prior year tax info, an EA is able to ascertain if a new client has a clean compliance history. Taxpayers with that circumstance are eligible for administrative waivers of penalties related to isolated events. The EAR service is available to request and receive penalty abatement.
By the end of May each year, e-Services provides access to wage and income reporting for the immediately preceding year. This gives tax practitioners access to W-2s and 1099s missing from the records of new clients. An EA is able to file an annual Form 8821 via e-Services to assure receiving copies of IRS notices to a client. Another valuable e-Services feature for EAs is set up of direct debit installment agreements. Enrolled Agents who familiarize themselves with all of the uses for e-Services are certain to improve the speed and accuracy of their projects – particularly with new clients.
IRS Circular 230 Disclosure
Pursuant to the requirements of the Internal Revenue Service Circular 230, we inform you that, to the extent any advice relating to a Federal tax issue is contained in this communication, including in any attachments, it was not written or intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (a) avoiding any tax related penalties that may be imposed on you or any other person under the Internal Revenue Code, or (b) promoting, marketing or recommending to another person any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.