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.
It really was that bad. The National Taxpayer Advocate has confirmed in a new report what the IRS long warned about: Taxpayers can forget about getting help from the agency amid budget cuts and staff shortages.
The strict budget constraints placed on the Internal Revenue Service are crippling efforts to conduct the most basic levels of public service, said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
In Nina Olson’s new report to Congress covering 2014, the National Taxpayer Advocate told of a grim situation for the IRS. Service has eroded badly, oversight is poor and tax administration is being reshaped in negative ways by forces outside the agency’s control. There’s plenty of blame to go around. But the situation isn’t hopeless. Olson joined the Federal Drive with Tom Temin with more on the problems and possible solutions.