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News : Internal Revenue Service Provide Poor Quality Service
Washington, DC, USA, July 15, 2015 -- The Internal Revenue Service provided poor customer service during this year’s tax filing season as taxpayers struggled with a rise in identity theft and complications related to President Obama’s health law, a government watchdog said Wednesday.
A new report by the National Taxpayer Advocate says the IRS has been hampered by budget cuts.
The report says the IRS blocked nearly 1.6 million suspicious tax refunds this year because of concerns about identity theft. About a third of the refunds turned out to be legitimate, but for long stretches during tax season, fewer than 10 percent of callers could get through to an IRS help line.
"For the majority of taxpayers who filed their returns and did not require IRS assistance, the filing season was generally successful," said the report by Nina Olson.
"For the segment of taxpayers who required help from the IRS, the filing season was by far the worst in memory," the report said. "To a significant degree, the IRS’ shortcomings are budget-driven."
The taxpayer advocate is an independent office within the IRS.
Overall, only 37 percent of people who called the IRS for help during tax season were able to reach a person, the report said.
IRS help lines were so overloaded that the system hung up on 8.8 million callers, the report said. That’s a huge jump from last year, when the IRS hung up on 544,000 callers.
The IRS calls the hang-ups "courtesy disconnects," because the system hangs up early in the call, rather than making callers wait on hold, only to be disconnected later.
"It is important to note that the IRS must carefully balance limited resources to meet its dual mission of providing taxpayer service and enforcing the tax laws," the IRS said. "With 75 percent of our budget being personnel, and one-third of our workforce providing taxpayer service, the continuing cuts to our budget have severely hampered our ability to provide taxpayers with the services they need and deserve."
Congress has cut the agency’s budget by $1.2 billion since 2010, and House Republicans are proposing more cuts next year.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Internal Revenue Service:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the United States federal government agency that collects taxes and enforces the internal revenue laws. It is an agency within the U.S. Department of the Treasury and is responsible for interpretation and application of Federal tax law.
About Salt River Project:
The Salt River Project (SRP) is the umbrella name for two separate entities: the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District, an agency of the state of Arizona that serves as an electrical utility for the Phoenix metropolitan area, and the Salt River Valley Water Users' Association, a utility cooperative that serves as the primary water provider for much of central Arizona. It is one of the primary public utility companies in Arizona.
Published: Monday, July 20, 2015