IRS customer service deteriorates with cuts
WASHINGTON — Only 61 percent of the more than 100 million customer-service phone calls made to the Internal Revenue Service last year were answered, the nation's taxpayer advocate said in her annual report released on Thursday.
In addition, the IRS has done a poorer job in recent years dealing with walk-ins at local offices and responding on a timely basis to letters, Nina Olson reported. She cited an 8 percent cut in IRS funding and staffing since 2010 as the cause.
As a result, the report says, “Tax preparation and filing assistance is now, for the most part, privatized. That is, for a taxpayer to comply with his or her requirement to file a tax return, the taxpayer must pay for assistance, pay for software and pay for advice.” Taxpayers, Olson said in an interview, “will not be able to get through on the phone when the IRS has sent them a notice and says, ‘We are going to do X to you. Or we have adjusted your return and if you disagree, call us or write us.' ”
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen made a public appeal earlier this week for “adequate resources” for his agency.
“I'm extremely concerned about the deep budget cuts that our agency has had to absorb over the last few years,” Koskinen said. “It's critical that we find a solution to this problem, and I will do everything I can to make sure that we do.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police search for armed prisoner after Va. hospital escape
- Indiana officials try to quell backlash over religious freedom law
- Federal agents charged with plundering online drug bazaar Silk Road
- Girl, 10, killed in Youngstown blaze was linked to rape case
- A revolt is growing as more people refuse to pay back student loans
- Music festivals say ‘no’ to fans’ selfie sticks
- Supreme Court allows Obamacare’s Medicare costs board to stand
- Eased rules considered to add talent to military, Defense chief says
- Florida church bus crash kills 8
- U.S. parks cope with aging visitor base
- Cause unknown for attack on NSA gates by 2 men dressed as women