TIGTA warns IRS of delayed start to 2019 tax season
The high volume of changes in the Tax Code, along with a shortened cycle and missed deadlines, are increasing the risk of a delayed start to the 2019 tax-filing season, according to a new report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
The report pointed out that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018 made a number of significant changes to the Tax Code affecting individuals and businesses, as well as tax-exempt organizations, and is the first major tax reform legislation in more than 30 years.
The IRS estimates that implementation of the law will require creating or revising approximately 450 forms, publications and instructions, and modifying around 140 information technology systems to ensure it can accommodate the newly revised tax forms.
The IRS Information Technology organization’s normal deadline for business units requesting information technology products and services for the next filing season is January 31. After passage of the TCJA last December, the IRS IT organization set up several interim deadlines to facilitate timely implementation of the law’s provisions. However, the business units missed the deadlines for submitting work request notifications and business requirements. After that, the IT organization set a new deadline of June 1, 2018, for submitting final work request notifications. The most recent deadline shortened the time frame for making system changes for the 2019 filing season by four months. But, as of July 5, 2018, the IT organization hadn’t received all the final work request notifications and business requirements. Delays in receiving the information mean less time available for modifying and testing systems, thereby increasing the risk of a delayed start to the 2019 filing season.
Another major area of concern, according to the report, is the IRS’s ability to quickly fill a number of critical positions that were vacated by IRS employees or contractors. Thanks to the lengthy process involved in hiring IRS employees or bringing contractors on board, the positions might not be quickly filled, against putting the timeliness of the IT updates at risk.