Articles

IRS Budget versus Customer Service:

In Accounting & Finances, Business, Taxes on September 13, 2015 by Sufen Wang

Budget cutTaxpayers Stand to Be the Biggest Losers

The Taxpayer Advocate Service recently released its mid-year “Objectives Report to Congress.” An independent organization within the IRS, the TAS’s job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly and knows their rights. Among other things, the TAS report presented snapshots of the IRS’s performance during the 2015 tax filing season.

BloopersThose highlights would be right at home on a blooper reel. For example, the IRS answered just 45% of calls to the Practitioner Priority Service line, with hold times averaging 45 minutes. Although the wait time for taxpayers routed to IRS customer service representatives was slightly better at 23 minutes, only 37 percent of taxpayer calls actually got-through! In comparison, the IRS answered 71 percent of its calls and hold times averaged 14 minutes during the 2014 season.

Customer ServiceGet this – the House and Senate want to address problem areas such as these by decreasing the IRS budget even further. That’s like fighting a raging wildfire with gasoline. The exact opposite needs to happen: we need to increase the IRS budget so more agents can be hired. More agents means more available help for taxpayers, which means they can get their tax questions answered in a timely, efficient manner.

The author of the TAS report, Nina Olson, explained that “The 2015 filing season was akin to A Tale of Two Cities. For the majority of taxpayers who filed their returns and did not require IRS assistance, the filing season was generally successful. For the segment of taxpayers who required help from the IRS, the filing season was by far the worst in memory.”

HomerReducing the IRS’s resources will turn that bad memory into a living nightmare next filing season. It’s a given that each year taxpayers are going to need help on their returns, and they’re already not getting much of it from the IRS. If Congress does anything other than increase the IRS’s budget, these hardworking taxpayers will be the biggest losers – spending extra time and money that they don’t have to solve their tax concerns.

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Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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