IRS' Lough: Look to Web, Not Email, for Help
The IRS will not backtrack on its recent decision to stop answering questions by email and no longer forward questions sent to IRS Customer Account Services, Commissioner of the IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division Sunita Lough said at an Oct. 20 update on federal agency activity at the 2015 ASPPA Annual Conference.
Lough said she understood frustrations with the change, which went into effect Oct. 1, but doubled down on the decision.
One reason for the change is resources. “We have to use our resources to maximize them,” said Lough, adding, “we can’t keep doing more with less.”
Another reason is concern over how responses to emails are regarded and acted upon. Lough said there is danger when answers are provided by email, and that it is “not in the purview of agents to provide opinions on specific circumstances of an email sender.” She said that agents “should not be giving opinions on the application of the law on specific facts,” and that that was the opinion of counsel.
Instead of one-on-one communication, Lough said, the IRS is working to improve its website to better provide answers to questions. “We are really working with our communication folks to do that,” she said.