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Thursday, February 25, 2010

IRS Commissioner Requests Additional $21m So IRS Will Not Answer Taxpayer Phone Calls 25% of the Time

In testimony yesterday before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman requested an additional $20.9 million to increase its level of telephone performance from 71% to 75%. From the National Taxpayer Advocate's 2009 Annual Report to Congress:

[T]axpayers have found it increasingly difficult to reach an IRS telephone assistor. During the 2007 tax return filing season, the IRS attained a Customer Service Representative Level of Service (CSR LOS) of 83% on its toll-free lines. In the 2008 filing season, the CSR LOS declined to 77%. During the 2009 filing season, the service level dropped further to 64% with a 519-second average speed of answer (ASA), which means the average caller sat on hold for nearly nine minutes. These declining numbers indicate that the IRS is not achieving its goal of improving service to facilitate voluntary compliance.

In response to the declining levels of phone service, the IRS has set goals of 71% percent for CSR LOS and 698 seconds for ASA in fiscal year 2010. In other words, the IRS has set its priorities so that nearly three out of every ten calls seeking to reach an IRS telephone assistor will not get through, and callers who do receive assistance will first have to wait on hold for an average of nearly 12 minutes.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2010/02/irs-commissioner-.html

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Comments

At least the IRS changed its music on-hold and we don't have to listen to the Nutcracker Suites for an hour. Knowing the government, that probably cost several million dollars to implement. But, so what if they don't answer. Can you trust their advice? But, if you owe money and have a notice of intent to levy, it would be nice to get through to work out something.

Posted by: Woody | Feb 25, 2010 6:33:08 AM

I have a friend, whose husband works for the I.R.S. He told his wife that at the office, they let the phone ring, and sit around and laugh about making the customers wait on hold. I am not making this up. It is true.

Posted by: dude | Feb 25, 2010 11:39:59 AM