When the IRS announced its Paperless Processing Initiative in August, it set a lofty goal of allowing taxpayers to digitally submit all correspondence, non-tax forms, and responses to notices by the 2024 filing season. Based on how things have gone in previous tax seasons, however, it’s likely that most people assumed they wouldn’t meet their deadline. But thanks to Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) investments, the IRS has actually achieved its goal three months ahead of schedule.
Taxpayers Can Now Digitally Respond to All Correspondence
In February 2023, taxpayers could only submit nine (9) notices through the Document Upload Tool. Eight months later, all notices can now be handled through the online tool. As a result of achieving this goal, the IRS estimates that more than 94% of individual taxpayers will no longer have to send mail to the IRS. Since October 27, the IRS has received more than 35,000 digital responses.
By the start of the 2024 filing season, the IRS also anticipates meeting the second goal of its paperless initiative by allowing taxpayers to e-file 20 additional tax forms. This includes amendments to Forms 940, 941, 941-SS, and 941 (PR).
IRS to Improve the “Where’s My Refund” Tool
In addition to the digital correspondence news, the IRS also announced that they are making improvements to their popular “Where’s My Refund” tool for the 2024 filing season. In 2022, the tool was used by more than 54 million taxpayers and generated 550 million hits. The limited information, however, often lead to taxpayers calling the IRS for additional information on their refund status.
The improvements to the “Where’s My Refund” tool will create a better mobile experience. Taxpayers will also see more detailed refund status messages instead of the old generic messages. Here’s an example:
Current Message: “Your tax return is still being processed. A refund date will be provided when available. For more information about processing delays, please see our Refund Frequently Asked Questions.”
New & Improved Message: “To protect you from identity theft, your tax return is currently being reviewed. To help us process your return more quickly, verify your identity and tax return information. If you recently received a letter from us, follow the instructions on the letter. Please have your tax return (Form 1040 series) available and read the website or letter before starting the verification process. If you already reviewed your identity and tax return information you may check the status of your refund in 2-3 weeks.”
Additional upgrades are also planned for future filing seasons.
IRS Promises Better Phone Service in 2024
The IRS is committed to making the 2024 tax filing season as painless as possible. Along with the upgrades to their refund tool, they also set a goal of keeping call wait times to under five (5) minutes. The agency will also offer a call-back option if the projected wait time is longer than 15 minutes.
Plan Ahead for Tax Season
Tax season opens on January 23, 2024. Now is the time to gather everything you need to file your 2023 tax returns. Although the IRS has made great strides in making it easier to file online and respond digitally, there may be instances where you need additional assistance. There are many resources available on IRS.gov. You can also reach out to a tax professional if you have a complex tax issue or a complicated return. For a free consultation, call Tax Defense Network at 855-476-6920.