Rosetti Vows To Improve IRS


IRS Technology Updates

The Internal Revenue Service updated its electronic information services for the 1998 tax filing season. Here is a list of some of the improvements:

Fax

  • The IRS moved its TaxFax system to a different northern Virginia office that will allow it to double systems capacity and expand the menu for new products. The new fax number is 703-368-9694. The old number will continue to roll over to the new number.

Online

  • The IRS Web site ( www.irs.ustreas.gov ) has tripled its capacity for faster access to information.

  • A W-4 calculator helps taxpayers determine how many deductions they should take.

  • "Fill-in-the-blank" tax forms for PCs have been added. Taxpayers can download these forms, fill in the blanks using their PCs, print them and submit them to the IRS.

  • A Tax Professional's Area is available on the Web site. Users will receive help and guidance from members of the IRS Commissioner's Advisory Group.

  • Digital Dispatch is an e-mail newsletter that gives tax professionals advance releases (with "drop notice" frequency) of technical advice to be issued in the Internal Revenue Bulletin.

  • A learning lab targets students in middle schools and high schools focusing on the tax system, payroll and tax-filing alternatives.

CD-ROM

  • A low-cost CD-ROM for practitioners that includes "fill-in-the-blank" forms, portions of the internal revenue manual, market-segment guides and tools for the tax professional is available for $20.

  • A CD-ROM for new businesses provides start-up information from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, the Small Business Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and others.

Charles O. Rossotti, who was overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate as Internal Revenue Service commissioner, plans to engineer a major shift in focus to a more customer-oriented culture and pledged his support for the comprehensive IRS restructuring legislation in the House and the Senate.

Rossotti, 56 years old, was the chairman of an international information technology consulting company based in Fairfax, Virginia. He is the first IRS commissioner without a formal background in tax law or administration. Before his selection, Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin and many members of Congress, including Robert Portman (R-Ohio), the cochairman of the National Commission on Restructuring the IRS, had recommended that the new commissioner be chosen from the private sector. At the Senate confirmation, Senator John Breaux (D-La.) called Rossotti's lack of experience with tax law "a positive qualification for the current time."

Rossotti told members of the Senate Finance Committee that the IRS's long-term goal should be to provide service to taxpayers that is as good as they receive from leading companies in the private sector. This means "moving from the way things were typically done in large private-sector companies 15 to 20 years ago to the way the best companies do them today," said Rossotti.

To accomplish this, Rossotti said there would be a comprehensive modernization of both the organization and technology at the IRS. He said he would not hesitate to bring in new people when necessary and he emphasized the need for open communications in building successful organizations. "I will do everything in my power to adopt a policy of open, honest communication—within the IRS, with the Congress and with the public—because it is the only way I know how to manage."

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