How COVID Has Pulverized IRS Operations

Delays, postponements, system failures, shutdowns, and mounting backlogs.

By CPA Trendlines

Taxpayers who filed a 2019 paper return and are entitled to refunds may be in for a long wait, according to the first report to Congress from the new IRS watchdog.

MORE on the 2020 SEASON: The Mystery of 10 Million Missing Tax Returns | Tax Pro E-Filings Down 20 Percent | IRS Web Traffic Doubles over Year-Ago | COVID Drowns IRS in New Filings | 2020 Tax Season Comes to a Screeching Halt | The Tax Season 2020 Dumpster Fire | Tax Pros Fall Behind 6.2% in Returns Filed
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The IRS was forced to suspend the processing of paper tax returns, and as of May 16, it estimated it had a backlog of 4.7 million paper returns, says National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins, who succeeded long-time predecessor Nina Olsen just as the pandemic was ramping up.

Although the IRS is reopening some of its core operations, it is not clear when it can open and process all the returns sitting in mail facilities, the Taxpayer Advocate Service reports.

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COVID Cuts Accounting Profits

Two views on tax season from Texas: John Lister and Jonathan Kaplow

A shift in the wrong direction.

BUSY SEASON BAROMETER:
How accountants are battling the Coronavirus recession
Join the survey. Get the answers.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Every business in the country, if not the world, is feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Outside of the tech sector, the impact has been largely negative. Every business is suffering. So, relatively speaking, the tax and accounting sector may be getting off easy.

MORE TRENDS in SURVEYS & RESEARCH: Seven Ways COVID Has Changed Busy SeasonGetting a Handle on COVID | COVID Crushes CPA Business Outlook |  Is the Worst Over? 63% of Small Business Say So | Beat the Covid Crisis with These 20 Steps for Your Firm and Your Clients | Clients, Revenues, Profits – Trending Down, Down, Down | Covid Crushes Rosey Forecasts | The Seven Factors Keeping Accounting Firms Afloat Amid COVID-19 | Feeling the Pain? The Biggest Job Losses by Client Sector | Tax Season Pivots to Covid Rescue Season | Planning for the Coronavirus Recession | How Accountants Are Coping with COVID-19 |

More Coronavirus coverage here

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According to the latest data from the CPA Trendlines 2020 Busy Season Barometer, about 39 percent of firms are still expecting to see an increase in business, but overall optimism seems to be dipping even as the economy begins to reboot.

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Getting a Handle on COVID

Views from the front lines: Victoria Martin, Elaine Kovner, Gary Zeune

Accountants show new signs of optimism as fears of COVID chaos wane.

How to battle the Coronavirus recession
Join the survey. Get the answers.

By CPA Trendlines Research

The turning of a terrible tide of COVID pessimism has been neither quick nor clear-cut as the endless Busy Season of 2020 drags on, according to new findings and analysis from the CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer.

MORE TRENDS in SURVEYS & RESEARCH: COVID Crushes CPA Business OutlookIs the Worst Over? 63% of Small Business Say So | Beat the Covid Crisis with These 20 Steps for Your Firm and Your Clients | Clients, Revenues, Profits – Trending Down, Down, Down | Covid Crushes Rosey Forecasts | The Seven Factors Keeping Accounting Firms Afloat Amid COVID-19 | Feeling the Pain? The Biggest Job Losses by Client Sector | Tax Season Pivots to Covid Rescue Season | Planning for the Coronavirus Recession | How Accountants Are Coping with COVID-19 |

More Coronavirus coverage here

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The outlook certainly isn’t back to where it was in the sunny days of February. But hopes for a better year have edged up from 23 percent in April to 27 percent in May.

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Avalara Launches A.I. Tool to Streamline Tax Classifications

Simplifies product classification and taxability determinations.

Seattle-based Avalara Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based tax compliance automation for businesses of all sizes, is rolling out an artificial intelligence-based tax classification tool, designed to cut the time spent by Avalara AvaTax users classifying products and taxability.

“The accurate classification of products and services has always been a bottleneck for customers in their tax compliance journey,” said Sanjay Parthasarathy, chief product officer at Avalara. “By harnessing the power of AI and machine learning, we have not only accelerated the classification process by providing a solution that helps users arrive at the right tax classification quickly and efficiently without being a tax expert, but we have also made it more accurate.” READ MORE →