Starting Aug. 1, taxpayers and their representatives will be able to conduct virtual web-based videoconferences with IRS Appeals officers, the IRS announced on Monday. The virtual Appeals conference program is being launched as a pilot so the IRS can assess how satisfied taxpayers are with the new service and the technology.
Currently, taxpayers who are pursuing an IRS appeal can hold a videoconference with an Appeals officer only using technology available at a limited number of IRS offices. Otherwise, they must communicate by phone or meet in person.
The pilot program will use a secure, web-based screen-sharing platform to allow Appeals personnel to connect with taxpayers face-to-face from anywhere those taxpayers have internet access. The IRS says it hopes that this technology will allow it to provide greater access, efficiency, and flexibility to taxpayers in the Appeals process because the pilot program involves videoconference technology that can be used from anywhere, rather than just from an IRS Appeals office.
The IRS says it handles the appeals of more than 100,000 taxpayers every year.
—Sally Schreiber (Sally.Schreiber@aicpa-cima.com) is a JofA senior editor.