By Black Headline News and Ethnic Media Services
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — The tax deadline is just a few weeks away; the IRS is implementing a multitude of measures which may contribute to an easier filing season this year, with faster processing times of tax returns and quicker refunds.
During an Ethnic Media Services briefing earlier this year, Kevin Morehead, Deputy Commissioner, Wage and Investment Division of the IRS, and Susan Simon, Director of Customer Assistance Relationships and Education at the IRS reviewed some of the latest notices concerning the IRS.
Through its Tax Assistance Centers, the agency can now offer filing support in over 350 languages. Additionally, several commonly-used forms are available in multiple languages. Free tax preparation is also available through the IRS’s VIDA program, as well as its initiative for older adults.
KEY TAKEAWAYS AND RESOURCES:
Kevin Morehead: “As one of the world's most efficient tax administrators, the IRS collects about $4.1 trillion a year, which is about 96% of the US gross revenue. Last year, the IRS processed more than 260 million tax returns and other forms, and issued more than $1.1 trillion in tax refunds.”
“As part of the passage of the Inflation Reduction act, we hired more than 5,000 new telephone assistors, bringing our phone staffing to its highest, level ever. We've expanded the in-person assistance in our taxpayer assistance center by adding staff across the country.”
“Refunds will be about 10 % smaller this year. Taxpayers will not receive an additional stimulus payment with their return, because there were no economic impact payments for 2022. In addition taxpayers who don't itemize and just take the standard deduction won't be able to deduct their charitable contributions like they were able to in 2021 returns.”
“Green” credits of up to $7500 are available to people who have purchased new electric vehicles. Used electric vehicles may also qualify, depending on several factors.
Susan Simon: “One of the ways that we help taxpayers is providing free tax return preparation. We have an organization called Stakeholder Partnerships Education and Communication, which operates our volunteer income tax assisted programs, and our tax counseling for the elderly programs.We call them VITA and TCE.”
“We are so pleased this year because we have expanded VITA. as of today, we have 81,000 volunteers in the United States preparing free tax returns for individuals.”
“It is important that we work through partners, that we provide the information in a way that taxpayers can have faith and trust that their tax return is being done correctly, that there is no scam going on, that there is no fraud. Each of these volunteers is trained and tested.”
“We have made so much progress in our multilingual services programs. All our toll free phone lines offer assistance in one of 350 languages. In addition, we have over the phone interpreter services in our taxpayer assistance centers. We have 362 offices located throughout the country, where you can make an appointment to resolve any issue, to set up an installment plan to make up payments, or to ask general questions in those offices. We provide over the phone interpreters at those offices.”
“Many of our commonly used forms are now translated into Spanish, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Russian.”