Every year the IRS offers a series of Tax Forums across the country, usually in seven or eight cities from east to west coast. Of course they come here to Las Vegas. The Forums offer all kinds of workshops on all kinds of tax issues. It is geared primarily to CPAs and Enrolled Agents. But the cost is only $165 so even if there are only two or three workshops for payroll it is still a great deal. This is especially true if you are a CPP like me who needs to have these types of classes to renew. After all the APA charges $1300 to attend their Congress each year and they offer tax compliance workshops. Why not get the info from basically the same speakers at a price one (or the company I work for) can afford to pay?
For the past several years I have attended the Tax Forum here in Vegas with my CPA friend. I even wrote about them in the Payroll Manager’s Report touting how great they were for payroll professionals. Workshops I have attended included taxing nonresident aliens and filing W-2s electronically. Well after the first Forum I attended they asked for a survey of attendees as to what workshops they would like to see in the future. I, of course, jotted down some quick suggestions on adding Form 941, third party sick pay, and taxing fringe benefits in general. I submitted the survey and went merrily on my way, knowing I would see at least one or two of these courses next time around.
The next year came around but they did not have any new workshops for payroll people. In fact they had dropped a few from the time before. But still they had enough to get my money’s worth so I attended. And again they asked for ideas for workshops. Well this time I got a large cup of Starbuck’s coffee, a muffin and a pen and off I went. War and Peace it wasn’t but it was nearly that large. I explained how they could attract payroll professionals thereby increasing attendance, and ensure better compliance by offering these workshops. And it’s not like CPAs don’t need the information, they do. I submitted my tome of a survey and headed off into the future secure in the knowledge that I would see these workshops this year. I mean the IRS would surely jump at the chance to educate those professionals who are responsible for collecting at least half of the taxes in this country. Isn’t compliance in payroll one of the most important things to them? They have all these publications to tell us how to handle fringe benefits surely a workshop or two wouldn’t be out of line?
So as soon as I got the e-mail for the Tax Forum this year I opened it with great anticipation. Wondering how I was going to fit in all the payroll related workshops this year. You know where this is going of course. Not only did they ignore my suggestions for workshops related to payroll but actually dropped any workshops that would even matter to payroll professionals. They only ones they kept were the tired old ones they always offer. Those are the ones on how to submit W-2s electronically and matching names and numbers on the W-2 to the SSA’s data base. Those both are actually offered by the Social Security Administration so I can’t fault them for not adding any new ones.
So the question arises, why doesn’t the IRS want to offer affordable tax compliance workshops to payroll professionals at their Tax Forums? Are they worried that so many payroll professionals will show up there will not be enough room for the CPAs? I don’t think so! Do they not care about compliance when it comes to payroll? I doubt that. The only reason I can think of is maybe they don’t want to tick off the APA by offering us affordable training.
What do you think?
PS: No I am not attending the Forum this year! Why waste the money.