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The 2013 IRS filing season is over and the independent TIGTA weighs in on the results.

2013 Tax Filing Season Ends, TIGTA Reports Progress

  • 5/1/2013

2013 Tax Filing Season Ends, TIGTA Reports Progress

The 2013 filing season has earned generally good reviews by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and others. In a new report by TIGTA, the watchdog reported the IRS improved its identity theft efforts but struggles to curb fraud in other areas. The IRS also announced penalty relief for taxpayers impacted by recent severe storms in parts of the South and Midwest.

“Our members essentially lost the first half of filing season,” Jeffrey Porter, CPA, chair of the AICPA Tax Executive Committee, told the Senate Finance Committee on April 12. "The IRS could not accept tax returns that included certain forms until February or early March. Nevertheless, the IRS did an outstanding job under difficult circumstances."

Filing season

TIGTA reported that enactment of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) on January 2, 2013, significantly reduced the time the IRS had to implement many tax changes. The IRS delayed the start of the filing season to January 30, 2013, but began accepting all individual tax returns on March 4, 2013.

During the 2013 filing season, TIGTA reported that the IRS ramped up its anti-fraud activities and prevented the issuance of $1.79 billion in fraudulent refunds as of mid-March 2013.

Porter told lawmakers that the AICPA supports the IRS’s proposal to allow truncated Social Security numbers on some information reporting forms, but that it will be more effective if Congress changes the law so that the IRS can expand the initiative.

Disaster victims

Taxpayers in the South and Midwest impacted by the storms will qualify, based on reasonable cause, if they were unable to file their returns or pay tax due until after the April 15 deadline, the IRS explained. The relief applies to the late-filing penalty and the late-payment penalty.

Compliance update

In other news, a January 2013 report by the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) received renewed attention because of its survey of “low compliance communities.” TAS surveyed taxpayer attitudes as part of a study of compliance by small businesses and found low compliance communities in 24 states.

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