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IRS Taxpayer Service 'Suffering From Budget Cuts'

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

18 June 2015


There has been a decline in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxpayer services, case closures, and dollars collected, according to a report released recently by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

TIGTA initiated its audit to determine the impact that IRS budget reductions have had on collection programs. It found that between the 2010 and 2015 fiscal years (FYs), the IRS budget has been reduced by more than USD1.2bn and that, since FY2010, those budgetary decreases have resulted in a 21 percent reduction in Automated Collection Service (ACS) contact representatives and a 28 percent reduction in Field Collection revenue officers.

It added that this has resulted in the ACS answering 25 percent fewer taxpayer telephone calls since 2011. Taxpayers whose calls were answered spent an average of eight minutes (97 percent) longer waiting for a contact representative.

As a further consequence, ACS inventory grew and became older, and more cases were not resolved and were transferred to the Queue, a database that houses delinquent accounts the IRS is unable to work.

In addition, in FY2014, revenue officers collected USD222m (7 percent) less than in FY2011, and closed 34 percent fewer cases. It was said that this was primarily due to the decrease in the number of revenue officers.

"The availability of key collection employees directly affects taxpayer service and the IRS's ability to take appropriate enforcement action on delinquent taxpayers," said J. Russell George, the TIGTA. "Taxpayers may become frustrated and remain noncompliant if they are unable to reach a contact representative to resolve their tax issues."

TAGS: individuals | compliance | tax | tax compliance | law | employees | budget | Internal Revenue Service (IRS) | enforcement | tax authority | United States | Tax

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