The IRS Plans For Better Phone Support In 2016Published:
Have you ever tried to make a call to the IRS to get questions answered regarding your taxes? It is not a quick or enjoyable experience. Well there is some good news for this year’s tax season. The Internal Revenue Service has announced an additional $290 million has been approved by Congress for tax payer services. As a result the IRS is hiring up to 1,000 people.
The National Taxpayer Advocate’s annual report found that last year taxpayers attempting to reach the IRS on a toll-free line had a 38% chance of reaching an actual person. These calls also had an average waiting time of 30 minutes. A stifling 8 million calls ended in a “courtesy disconnect”, or what common folk call a hang up.
Commissioner John Koskinen stated that he hoped about 60% of calls would go through and wait time would be cut to 20 minutes. “The level of service was so bad last year that almost anything would be better,” he said.
We suggest that taxpayers check the IRS.com website to find answers to common questions before making any calls. If you still need to make a call, you can find all the contact information here.
Other points from Mr. Koskinen’s comments:
Since Congress hasn’t increased funding for enforcement, audits will continue to rise.
The online “Get Transcript” function has not been restarted. This functionality let people view their past returns online, but was vulnerable and hit by a data breach last year. Taxpayers can still request past returns online and receive them by mail.
The restarting of a program that will allow private companies to collect tax debts will not meet its 90-day deadline set by Congress. Mr. Koskinen said the federal procurement process means the companies won’t be hired until later this year.
Beware of telephone scams in which people impersonate IRS employees and get people to turn over their bank-account information. Know that the IRS sends letters before calling and doesn’t threaten to have people arrested by local law enforcement.
Mr. Koskinen said “the IRS will not make angry calls to demand immediate payment.”