Tags: IRS Scandal | IRS | worst service | poor | tax | season | blame

Report: Expect Worst IRS Service This Season, but Blame Tax Agency

By    |   Friday, 13 Feb 2015 06:52 PM

The IRS will be giving taxpayers its worst service ever this filing season — and the beleaguered agency has only itself to blame, according to a Heritage Foundation expert.

"Lawmakers and the American people should not be fooled by the IRS' attempt to blame Congress for the lousy performance, and they most certainly have a right to expect better service in return for their hard-earned tax dollars," James Quarles, a member of the Young Leaders program at the foundation, writes in a commentary for The Hill.

Quarles points to a new Taxpayer Advocate survey that predicts 57 percent of taxpayers calling the Internal Revenue Service for help won’t get through to a live "assistor," and those who do will be placed on hold for 30 minutes or longer.

For taxpayers contacting the IRS by mail, about half the letters won't be processed within 45 days of them landing at the agency.

"The IRS now typically receives more than 100 million telephone calls, 10 million letters, and 5 million visits from taxpayers each year," according to an analysis by the Taxpayer Advocate.

"In [fiscal year] 2015, taxpayers are likely to receive the worst levels of service since the IRS implemented its current performance measures in 2001, with more than half of the calls going unanswered and hold times expected to exceed 30 minutes on average (considerably longer at peak times)."

Quarles writes that officials blame recent budget cuts for the problem — IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said last month the agency's $10.9 billion budget is the lowest level of funding since 2008 — but notes the cuts are "for good reason."

Citing a 2013 report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Quarles writes there were 225 employee conferences between 2010 and 2012 at a total cost of $49 million.

"That $49 million is the equivalent to more than 14 percent of the most recent budget reduction," he writes. "It is hard to imagine why so many conferences are necessary, and American taxpayers have every right to be concerned and irritated by the decision to incur such a large expense on them."

He also slams the "increasing (and absurd) complexity of the tax code, made worse by Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank financial regulation statute," as well as the agency's scandalous targeting of conservative groups.

"Blaming a miserly Congress is a favorite tactic among poorly performing government agencies, and now they are harming taxpayers in their pursuit of a bigger budget," Quarles writes.

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The IRS will be giving taxpayers its worst service ever this filing season — and the beleaguered agency has only itself to blame, according to a Heritage Foundation expert.
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Friday, 13 Feb 2015 06:52 PM
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