TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, April 23, 2015

House Report: IRS ‘Deliberately’ Cut Customer Service to Make Tax Season Painful for Taxpayers

House LogoHouse Ways & Means Committee Majority Staff Report, Doing Less With Less: IRS’s Spending Decisions Harm Taxpayers (Apr. 22, 2015):

During the 2015 tax-filing season, the IRS provided what its own Commissioner described as “abysmal” customer service, blaming skyrocketing wait times for telephone and in-person assistance on agency budget cuts. The IRS even called budget cuts “a tax cut for tax cheats.” But a close review of the agency’s spending shows the IRS deliberately cut $134 million in funding for customer service to pay for other activities. Spending decisions entirely under the IRS’s control led to 16 million fewer taxpayers receiving IRS assistance this filling season. Other spending choices, including prioritizing employee bonuses and union activity on the taxpayer’s dime, used up resources that otherwise could have been used to assist another 10 million taxpayers.

The IRS’s spending choices and mismanagement of resources raise serious questions about the nature and extent of the agency’s self-described budget crisis and its commitment to serving the taxpayer.

Press and blogosphere coverage:

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/04/house-report-.html

Congressional News, IRS News, Tax | Permalink

Comments

It's the Washington Monument strategy, turned to tax returns. The Park Service does it when there's a government "shutdown" (never happens); why not the IRS when there is no government shutdown, but the agency is its own interest group?

Posted by: David | Apr 23, 2015 6:37:04 AM

I don't think they "raise serious questions", I think they ANSWER them.

Posted by: Deoxy | Apr 23, 2015 6:37:47 AM

This was THE worst year I've had the pleasure of dealing with the IRS. They might as well provide no customer service because the service they are providing is just horrible.

Posted by: Frankie | Apr 23, 2015 6:50:21 AM

This reminds me of a true story from corporate America: A manager told me of the time he had to fire a guy. The manager told him "We've tried everything to correct the situation. We even cut your pay twice." The guy replied "Every time you cut my pay, I just cut my work!".

The IRS is that guy.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Apr 23, 2015 7:52:37 AM

Won't someone PLEASE think of the children, I mean IRS unions?

Posted by: TallDave | Apr 23, 2015 8:27:18 AM

Once the IRS became another arm of the Democratic Party, it was inevitable that it would become a lazy, corrupt, indecent, petty, vindictive money-sucking hole of destitution. It's what all Democratic Party institutions become, including the Party itself. The level that the American people have been willing to voluntarily reveal their real income and deductions will, and should, drop precipitously. If we cannot trust the government to treat us fairly, and know that they won't, there's very little reason for us to treat them fairly.

Posted by: USTaxpayer | Apr 23, 2015 8:56:33 AM

Well I did hear a rumor there was a new Star Trek series coming out. Those things don't fund themselves you know.

Posted by: Devin Dingler | Apr 23, 2015 9:56:23 AM

Well, if the IRS doesn't have the time to answer your tax questions, then whatever you were asking about, it's not taxable. They also don't have enough time to audit you.

Posted by: JustMe | Apr 23, 2015 12:24:33 PM

Of course the incompetent Commissioner could not move funds around to get the job done....that's right it is set in stone......No money coming in because we have fewer auditors and no other service.....too many mid and upper level managers doing helicoper managing.....fire them and hire workders....the managers are not in the union so there is no problem but the commissioner isn't smart enough to that.

Posted by: sid | Apr 23, 2015 3:13:22 PM