IRS makes changes to help file taxes

Tax season has officially begun, and the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) is making strides to ensure that filing your taxes is easier and more convenient than ever before. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel recently discussed how the agency is streamlining the tax-filing process to benefit taxpayers. In a year when words like “convenience” and “user-friendly” aren’t typically associated with the IRS, these changes come as a welcome surprise.

Extended Hours and Accessibility

One of the key improvements taxpayers can expect is extended weekday and Saturday hours at taxpayer assistance centers. Commissioner Werfel emphasized the importance of accessibility, recognizing that many individuals have work commitments during the week. The IRS aims to be available when taxpayers need assistance.

To further enhance accessibility, the IRS will introduce pop-up walk-in taxpayer assistance centers, targeting individuals who are more than 100 miles away from the nearest center. This approach reflects the agency’s commitment to reaching taxpayers where they are.

Long wait times on IRS phone lines have been a source of frustration for taxpayers. Commissioner Werfel acknowledged this issue and pledged to reduce call wait times. Additionally, the IRS will provide a callback option, allowing taxpayers to avoid the dreaded experience of listening to elevator music while waiting for assistance.

Digital Correspondence and Notices

The IRS is modernizing its processes by allowing taxpayers to upload all correspondences and notices digitally. This digital transition will reduce paperwork and make it easier for individuals to communicate with the IRS online.

For those looking to receive their refunds promptly, the IRS recommends filing electronically and opting for direct deposit. This method typically results in refunds being issued within two weeks, offering a faster and more efficient way to access your money.

Beware of Tax Scams

As tax season begins, the IRS also warns taxpayers to be vigilant against tax scams. Scammers often make false promises of tax benefits or issue fake threats regarding tax penalties. The IRS maintains a list of common scams on its website to help individuals identify potential fraudulent activities. If you receive an unexpected call from someone claiming to be the IRS, it is likely a scam, and you should hang up immediately.

Funding for Improvements

Commissioner Werfel mentioned that the funding for these improvements comes from the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. He emphasized that there is a significant need for improvements within the IRS, and the agency is committed to using the allocated resources to enhance the taxpayer experience.

Important Tax Season Reminders

As tax season gets underway, here are some crucial reminders:

  • Taxpayers have until April 15th to submit their returns for the year 2023.
  • Ensure that your name on your social security card matches your tax documents.
  • Check for tax statements, especially if you have opted out of receiving paper mail.
  • Report all of your income accurately.
  • If you had multiple jobs in 2023, make sure you have a W-2 form from each employer.

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In conclusion, the IRS’s efforts to streamline the tax-filing process, extend assistance hours, and reduce wait times represent a positive step toward making tax season less daunting for individuals. These changes are designed to enhance accessibility, efficiency, and overall user satisfaction. However, taxpayers are also reminded to remain cautious and vigilant in the face of potential tax scams.

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