The December 2015 issue of Accounting Today reported about numerous challenges the IRS is facing.
First, there was the IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen, stating that budget cuts are not only harming taxpayers, but also those tax professionals who represent taxpayers. From our perspective, truer words have never been spoken. We have been experiencing long waits to have our calls answered and when they are answered, the person we are speaking to often lacks the proper training and expertise to quickly resolve our clients’ tax issues.
One major problem that the IRS faces each year is the tax extenders. Certain tax provisions expire every year and Congress “debates” whether they should be extended. Since Congress fails to extend these tax provisions until the waning days of the calendar year, or after the tax year and then makes those extenders retroactive, the IRS warned everyone that the release of certain 2015 tax forms may be delayed.
The Commissioner admitted that the level of service provided by the IRS, whether by phone or in person, was far worse than desired. When taxpayers called the IRS, they often experienced waits of 30 minutes or longer, and only about 40% of those calls were able to speak with someone before the call was dropped. For those who visited the IRS for a face-to-face consultation, there were long lines outside of the IRS offices just to enter the building. The Commissioner acknowledged that the service afforded to tax professionals was also very dismal. Tax professionals, who have a special telephone number to call the IRS, are experiencing the same delays experienced by taxpayers.
Nina Olsen, in charge of the IRS’s Tax Advocate Office (TAO), has complained of declining IRS service and obstructions to the work of her office on behalf of taxpayers. The TAO is the branch of the IRS that acts independently of the IRS and works with taxpayers to resolve their tax problems when dealing with the IRS. As most of our readers know, the IRS has an identity theft problem. The problem is so bad, that the IRS is telling taxpayers that once an ID theft claim is submitted to the IRS, it may take the IRS 6 months before it contacts the taxpayer. Ms. Olsen shared the story that the TAO was assisting an ID theft victim because the taxpayer was experiencing a significant hardship and needed her refund to make ends meet. The response received from the IRS to the TAO was “We have thousands of these cases. Get in line.” Ms. Olsen said that the TAO is observing that IRS employees are demoralized and do not care about the quality of the service they deliver.
If the existing IRS challenges were not enough, new Affordable Care Act provisions become effective this year and the IRS is responsible for enforcing those provisions as well as safeguarding ID theft of that information.
If you want to discuss your personal tax planning and tax preparation concerns with an experienced tax professional, we invite you to call 610-594-2601 today to make an appointment at our Exton PA CPA office to discuss your situation. You can also schedule a consultation at Click Here.