Tags: John Koskinen | Obamacare | Budget | IRS | customer service

Koskinen: Obamacare, Budget Cuts Cause Bad IRS Service

By    |   Wednesday, 18 Mar 2015 01:57 PM

The IRS' customer service is suffering this year because user fees are being used instead to handle the demands of Obamacare and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress Wednesday.

"We knew, and it's been true, that we would get a significant number of inquiries on the Affordable Care Act," Koskinen told the House Appropriations Committee, which is working on the IRS' budget for fiscal year 2016, reports The Washington Times.  And as a result, money had to be spent to get the agency ready to handle its role in the healthcare reform law.

The IRS had to shift tens of millions of dollars over from customer service to build computer systems and to be able to answer questions about Obamacare and its tax penalty, Koskinen said, as the law requires the IRS to handle such issues and Congress hasn't provided the extra money.

This year, the IRS is able to answer just about 43 percent of the calls coming in
from taxpayers, which Koskinen said is a large drop.

A Taxpayers Advocate report earlier this year predicted 57 percent of the taxpayers who call the IRS for help won't get through to a live person, and even if they do, they could get put on hold for 30 minutes or more.

Sending questions by mail won't help, either, the report said, as half the letters won't be processed within 45 days before they land at the IRS, which "typically receives more than 100 million telephone calls, 10 million letters, and 5 million visits from taxpayers each year."

Funding has been cut for the IRS in recent years while Republicans show their disapproval with activities that have included the targeting of tea party groups, the Times reports.

Florida Rep. Anders Crenshaw, who chairs the House Appropriations committee overseeing the IRS, said the agency must prove it's earned the $13 billion it claims it is entitled to.

"We deliberately lowered the IRS funding to a level that will make the IRS think twice about what you're doing and why you're doing it," Crenshaw said.

Congress cut the IRS budget by $346 million for the budget year that ends in September. The $10.9 billion budget is $1.2 billion less than the agency received in 2010.

In December, Koskinen said such budget cuts will delay tax refunds, reduce taxpayer services, and hurt enforcement efforts.

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The IRS' customer service is suffering this year because user fees are being used instead to handle the demands of Obamacare and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress Wednesday.
John Koskinen, Obamacare, Budget, IRS, customer service
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2015-57-18
Wednesday, 18 Mar 2015 01:57 PM
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