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AICPA Supports Digital Mailbox Legislation

The American Institute of CPAs expressed support for legislation pending in the Senate that would redefine when electronic payments to the Internal Revenue Service are considered timely.

In a May 3, 2023, letter to Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), the AICPA applauded the legislators for The Electronic Communication Uniformity Act (S. 1338), which would treat electronic payments made to the IRS as timely at the point they are submitted, not at the point they are processed, which is how they are currently treated. The move would make the treatment similar to physically mailed payments, which are considered timely based on the post mark indicating when they are mailed, not when the payment physically arrives at the IRS or when the agency processes it.

S. 1338 was introduced by Sen. Blackburn on April 27, 2023. At press time, Sen. Cortez Masto is the only co-sponsor to the bill.

The bill adopts a recommendation included by the National Taxpayer Advocate in the annual so-called “Purple Book” of legislative recommendations made to Congress by the NTA. The Purple Book notes that IRS does not have the authority to apply the mailbox rule to electronic payments and it would need an act of Congress to make the change.

“Your bill would provide welcome relief and solve a problem that taxpayers have been faced with, i.e., incurring penalties through no fault of their own because they believed their filings or payments were timely submitted through an electronic platform,” the AICPA letter states. This legislation would provide equity by treating similarly situated taxpayers similarly. It would also improve tax administration by eliminating IRS notices assessing unnecessary penalties when the taxpayer or practitioner electronically submits a tax return by the deadline regardless of when the IRS processes it.

Tax policy and comment letters submitted to the government can be found here.

By Gregory Twachtman, Washington News Editor

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