NATP Leaders Discuss Member Concerns with IRS Commissioner Koskinen
On Monday, November 14, NATP representatives traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to discuss the matters that most concern members. The group included Board President, Gerard Cannito; Executive Director, Scott Artman; Director of Member Relations & Analytics, Jennifer Van Elzen; and Government Relations Liaison, Larry Gray. The discussion focused around three main topics: preparer due diligence, information security and minimum competency.
While due diligence is very much a necessity in the practice of tax preparation, concerns from our members were raised as to the requirements placed on professional preparers. Commissioner Koskinen explained that the IRS’ due diligence requirements are not intended to overly burden the preparers. He welcomes constructive feedback through work groups, so his team can fully understand the issues.
(L-R) Jennifer Van Elzen, Scott Artman, Gerard Cannito, Commissioner John Koskinen and Larry Gray.
Information security is a top concern for most people, but it is particularly serious for tax professionals who receive and store very sensitive client information. Commissioner Koskinen explained that programs to protect online data are continuously being developed as the IRS is now working on its next strategic plan. He also expressed an understanding that an inability to access client accounts online is an obstacle for preparers. It is the goal of the IRS to keep everyone up-to-date and aware of what comes next.
Minimum competency, or as the Commissioner refers to it, "required minimum standards," should exist in an effort to protect the taxpayers and tax professionals from those who have no qualifications and who don’t behave ethically. He believes required minimum standards differentiate qualified preparers from those who are not. Commissioner Koskinen believes this is still an important initiative and one that he hopes to have increased support from Congress on next year.
In addition to meeting with the IRS Commissioner, our representatives also met with key contacts in the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), the Return Preparer Office (RPO), the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, as well as attended both the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC) public meeting and the regular monthly National Public Liaison meeting.
Stay tuned to future editions of the
TAXPRO Weekly to receive ongoing government relations updates.