TAX-EX­EMPT BOND OF­FI­CIALS AT THE

The Bond Buyer - - Front Page - BY BRIAN TU­MULTY

In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice are con­duct­ing a pi­lot project test­ing the use of an IRS Se­cure Mes­sag­ing plat­form for mu­nic­i­pal se­cu­ri­ties au­dit ex­am­i­na­tions. Of­fi­cials don’t know yet how much quicker the au­dit process will be. The pi­lot pro­gram be­gan in May, but was not of­fi­cially an­nounced by the IRS un­til last week . . . . . . . .

WASH­ING­TON -- Tax-ex­empt bond of­fi­cials at the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice are con­duct­ing a pi­lot project test­ing the use of an IRS Se­cure Mes­sag­ing plat­form for mu­nic­i­pal se­cu­ri­ties au­dit ex­am­i­na­tions.

Of­fi­cials don’t know yet how much quicker the au­dit process will be. The pi­lot pro­gram be­gan in May, but was not of­fi­cially an­nounced by the IRS un­til last week.

Telly Meier, field op­er­a­tions man­ager for the IRS In­dian Tribal Gov­ern­ments/Tax Ex­empt Bond sec­tion, talked about the new email por­tal at the Bond At­tor­neys Work­shop in Septem­ber.

Par­tic­i­pa­tion is vol­un­tary for the bond is­suer that is un­der ex­am­i­na­tion, but the IRS says feed­back from the is­suers and their rep­re­sen­ta­tives that have tried se­cure mes­sag­ing has been very pos­i­tive.

“This, to me, is ac­tu­ally a good thing be­cause it means they are try­ing to fig­ure out ways to stream­line the process,” said Vicky Tsi­las, a part­ner at Bal­lard Spahr who re­cently headed Branch 5 in the IRS Chief Coun­sel’s Of­fice. Tsi­las pre­dicted that us­ing the IRS se­cure mes­sag­ing plat­form “will mean that doc­u­ment ex­change for ex­ams will pro­ceed with more ef­fi­ciency and there­fore re­sult in au­dits be­ing con­ducted in a faster man­ner.”

Perry E. Is­rael, a board mem­ber of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Bond Lawyers and a sole prac­ti­tioner in Sacra­mento, Calif., said he’s al­ready used the IRS se­cure email sys­tem for a cou­ple of au­dits. “The way it works is, when you get your first au­dit let­ter with some­thing say­ing they have this pro­gram go­ing and if you want to par­tic­i­pate, you have to send back to them some­thing say­ing we’re will­ing to par­tic­i­pate and they set you up with a se­cure por­tal for as long as that au­dit lasts,” Is­rael said.

The tem­po­rary por­tal is unique to that par­tic­u­lar au­dit and a new por­tal is es­tab­lished for a sec­ond au­dit even if it in­volves the same client.

“I’m per­son­ally very happy that we fi­nally have this be­cause un­til now it’s been kind of crazy,” Is­rael said. “The IRS was us­ing a fax sys­tem, but now most peo­ple now don’t even have fax machines.”

The IRS be­gan us­ing the se­cure email sys­tem ear­lier for cor­po­rate au­dit ex­ams, ac­cord­ing to Todd Cooper, a part­ner in the pub­lic fi­nance group at Locke Lord who chairs the Amer­i­can Bar As­so­ci­a­tion’s tax­a­tion sec­tion’s tax-ex­empt fi­nanc­ing com­mit­tee. “So, my as­sump­tion is that they will wait to see how well the pro­gram works, gather data, and only then talk about whether it will en­hance the speed of an exam,” Cooper said.

Meier will be on a panel at the ABA tax-ex­empt fi­nanc­ing com­mit­tee meeting in New Or­leans on Jan. 18, 2019. ◽

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.