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IRS Launches Secure Messaging Pilot Program

August 21, 2017

In effort to make it easier for individuals and their tax advisors to communicate with the IRS regarding audits, the IRS has released a secure messaging technology pilot program.

The Internal Revenue Service is pilot testing a new program for conducting correspondence examinations of taxpayers (who are subject to audit) using secure messaging technology that will also include their tax practitioners.

What is a correspondence examination?

After a return is selected for audit, it must be reviewed by an IRS agent (in either a correspondence examination, office examination or field examination). Correspondence examinations are done through a computer. The computer issues a letter that tells the taxpayer to send in documentation to support his or her claim on an item on the tax return.

A bit more on the secure messaging technology pilot program

The IRS is aiming to make it easier for individuals and their tax advisors to communicate with the IRS online. Affected taxpayers will be able to electronically respond to information requests and post documents through the system.

Who will be subject to the examinations?

Approximately 8,000 taxpayers who’re under audit for discrepancies in itemized deductions and some other issues will get a written invitation to participate in this test program (after they have validated their identities).

The program is “invite-only” but taxpayers and their tax professionals who have valid powers of attorney (the authority to act for another person in specified or all legal or financial matters) can participate.

After the IRS validates the power of attorney, tax professionals will have access to their own secure message mailbox in the new communications service, and through this, they can receive copies of messages and communicate with the IRS.

Questions on the secure messaging pilot program? Contact our Tax Services Team today.

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