Commentary on the IRS’s E-Services Decision

The IRS is going to take away a valuable tool for tax professionals later this summer. That tool is the ability to pull client transcripts submit powers of attorney on-line through the “E-Services” system.

With a signed power of attorney form, a practitioner can submit the power of attorney through E-Services and then almost instantly have access to the client’s account record. As Russ Fox at the Taxable Talk Blog says:

Using eServices to enter a POA has been a great boon for my practice, and I assume anyone who deals with any representation matters. After entering the POA, I can obtain transcripts from the IRS. If a client says he hasn’t filed a (say) 2011 return, I can obtain a Wage & Income transcript and know much of what needs to be on the return. This saves me time, saves the client money, saves the IRS time … and increases the efficiency of the system.

Starting August 11, tax pros will instead have to submit the power of attorney by fax or by snail-mail, which will obviously slow down the process of getting transcripts.

I hate to admit this, but my office doesn’t even have a fax machine. I do have a business-grade printer that has fax capabilities, but I’ve never had to use it. Now I’ll need to get it hooked up, before August 11.

The IRS says few practitioners are using E-Services (I think they said only 10% of power of attorney requests come through that system).

Still, in the year 2013, it seems more logical to encourage more practitioners to use E-Services instead of closing it down and taking away the electronic option completely.