The IRS processed "several million" tax returns on Monday in the opening hours of the tax filing season, but the effects of a 35-day partial government shutdown that ended Friday still leaves open questions about the agency's readiness.
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson has questioned the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) method for reporting customer service satisfaction, calling it misleading.
As the Internal Revenue Service rolls out its five-year roadmap to delivering faster, more efficient service, and prepares for upgrades under the next tax reform law, a bipartisan duo aims to restore the agency's long-neglected oversight board.
The Internal Revenue Service has long had an on-again off-again relationship with private tax debt collectors. At the moment, it's using them.
The Internal Revenue Service faces an uphill battle in preparing for the next filing season, according to National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson.
The National Taxpayer Advocate said low-income Americans are still being targeted by IRS debt collectors in 4,100 cases, despite the group's year-old recommendation to stop the practice.
With the 2017 tax filing deadline coming up Tuesday, the House plans to take action on as many as a dozen bills that would impact the way the IRS does business.
The IRS' workload is expected to grow under the tax reform legislation President Donald Trump signed into law in December last year, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, says the IRS doesn't have enough funding or employees to implement the tax law.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen urged Congress to fund the tax administration so it can invest in IT infrastructure, and meet customer service demands.
Internal Revenue Service watchdogs say the agency could do more in terms of taxpayer services if it had more human and financial resources. The White House proposed a fiscal 2018 budget of $10.9 billion, a cut of roughly $300 million from 2017 funding levels.
The National Taxpayer Advocate's 2016 report to Congress calls for tax reform and for the Internal Revenue Service to turn its focus outward when it comes to customer service and meeting its mission as a tax administration agency.
The IRS answered 73 percent of phone calls during the 2016 tax filing season, compared with 37 percent in 2015. Average wait times were cut in half as well. Taxpayers waited an average of 11 minutes to speak with an IRS representative this year, compared to 23 minutes the year before.
The IRS is basing its vision for the future on incorrect assumptions about taxpayers and the services they need, said National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson. Tight budgets have squeezed the IRS so far that the agency is getting rid of more in-person customer services in favor of more online accounts.
In its 2015 annual report, the National Taxpayer Advocate warns that the Internal Revenue Service could jeopardize customer service and taxpayer compliance if it makes certain changes to how it handles communication, information and processing.