HOUSTON, Sept. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Last week, Kathy Petronchak, alliantgroup's Director of IRS Practice and Procedure and the former IRS Commissioner of the Small Business/Self-Employed Division (SB/SE), testified before the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee regarding potential reforms to the IRS' dispute resolution process.
During the hearing, Petronchak highlighted a number of challenges facing taxpayers with respect to IRS examinations and the broader Appeals process. Specifically, Petronchak focused on the difficulties that have unfairly hit small and mid-size businesses the hardest. From issues such as a decrease in the use of alternative dispute resolution, emerging problems in the independent Appeals process, an overall lack of transparency from the IRS during examinations and third party contact procedures that are often prejudicial to the taxpayer, Petronchak elaborated on both problems—and potential solutions—that could ease the compliance burdens on small and middle market companies.
"There are steps that can be taken by the IRS that will improve the examination and Appeals process for taxpayers while showing respect for taxpayer rights and improving the customer service provided," said Petronchak.
In her testimony, Petronchak advocated for a number of reforms to make dispute resolution more fair, efficient and transparent for taxpayers and the Service. In particular, she encouraged the IRS to follow auditing procedures applied in large business audits on small and mid-size companies to promote added transparency and bring greater fairness to the process. By adopting more standardized procedures, the IRS can ensure that all taxpayers are treated equally.
"It is vitally important to remember that America's small businesses do indeed have needs, interests, and resources that may differ significantly from those of larger businesses," said Petronchak. "However, some of the procedures utilized in large business audits provide added transparency that would bring greater fairness to the examination of small businesses."
Petronchak offered her support for other commonsense reforms that would benefit small and middle market businesses. Such reforms included increasing access to the IRS Fast Track Settlement (FTS) program to small and mid-size companies to quickly settle disputes and separating IRS compliance employees from Appeals to create a more independent process. Additionally, Petronchak stressed the need for the IRS to improve education and outreach efforts as well as hold IRS employees more accountable to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR).
"During her testimony, Kathy eloquently described many of the frustrations that our clients and CPA partners have voiced to us over the years," said Dhaval Jadav, alliantgroup CEO. "It is my hope that this hearing will lead to a better and more productive relationship between taxpayers and the IRS. All we want is a fairer and more efficient process for all parties involved and Kathy has provided an excellent roadmap to the committee on how to get us there."
alliantgroup is the nation's premier provider of specialty tax services and a thought leader and advocate for the interest of small and middle market businesses. Through alliantNational, the firm's Washington D.C. based office, the firm provides subject matter expertise on complex and emerging federal, state and international tax issues as well as legislative and regulatory affairs to help taxpayers receive timely and precise guidance on all their tax matters. For more information, please follow alliantgroup on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.