April 18, 2012
IRS Commissioner on Declining Service to Taxpayers This Filing Season: 'I'm Proud -- It Could Have Been Worse'
As a result of budget constraints, the IRS expects to be able to serve fewer taxpayers at its walk-in offices, called Taxpayer Assistance Centers, and answer fewer taxpayer telephone calls. The IRS anticipates it will have increased wait times, earlier cutoffs of assistance to avoid end-of-day overtime, and frequent unexpected closures of small Taxpayer Assistance Centers due to unscheduled employee absences. Tax return preparation will only be provided on a limited number of days per week and only on a first come, first served basis.
The IRS is also planning on providing only a 61% Level of Service on its toll-free lines. As of March 3, 2012, IRS assistors have answered 7.4 million calls and have achieved a 66% Level of Service and a 975 second (16.3 minutes) Average Speed of Answer.
Finally, during visits to Volunteer Program sites as of March 3, 2012, TIGTA has had nine tax returns prepared with a 44% accuracy rate. This is lower than the 60% accuracy rate we reported during the same time period for the 2011 Filing Season.
“I’m pretty proud that while service is down, it hasn’t degraded, you know, to a point where it could have gone, given the cuts,” IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman told a congressional subcommittee March 27. ...
The National Taxpayer Advocate, an independent agency within the IRS, said inadequate funding and the resulting service decline are the most serious issues facing taxpayers. The report, released in January, called the telephone response numbers “deeply disturbing.”
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Didn't they just budget for a lot more auditors? Maybe they should first provide enough people to help taxpayers figure out the ridiculous tax code before trying to enforce it. Time for tar and feathers.
Posted by: MarkInFla | Apr 18, 2012 7:57:26 PM
That's like one of my students saying "I'm pretty proud of getting a C- instead of an F"
You should be relieved and humbled that you aren't a complete failure, not "proud".
Posted by: Scott | Apr 18, 2012 8:05:00 PM
Really odddefinition of what to be proud of if anything I would call it a shameful record.
Posted by: WMD | Apr 18, 2012 8:18:17 PM
guess they couldn't afford any more help, what with the shotgun budget already spent, and that SWAT team up and running.
Posted by: sarah in nc | Apr 18, 2012 9:11:33 PM
Yes thanks for doing your job at 61% and thanks for doing it with the taxpayers money.
Posted by: cubanbob | Apr 19, 2012 12:14:40 AM
“I’m pretty proud that while service is down, it hasn’t degraded, you know, to a point where it could have gone, given the cuts”
That should be engraved on a plate and attached to his portrait photo.
'We suck, but could have sucked worse... heckuva job, IRSies!'
Posted by: LTC John | Apr 19, 2012 9:26:47 AM