The National Taxpayer Advocate has made available for download their article, “Hello, Is Anyone There? Taxpayers and Practitioners Continue to Experience Frustration Over Lack of Adequate Phone Service”, published on The National Taxpayer Blog. The abstract is as follows:
IRS phone service was inadequate prior to the pandemic and spiraled from there, with calls reaching an all-time high and level of service (LOS) falling to an all-time low. Inadequate phone service disadvantages taxpayers, harms tax compliance, and causes frustration and exasperation. I have concerns this upcoming filing season may be just as difficult.
The IRS encourages taxpayers to make use of online resources to answer questions and resolve problems, and although those resources can be helpful, taxpayers often require or prefer live telephone contact. For example, they may need to seek clarification of new tax return instructions, obtain an explanation regarding the impact of tax legislation, or follow up on an IRS notice.
As with last year, I anticipate an onslaught of calls to the IRS phone lines during this year’s filing season. Among other things, these calls likely will be driven by inquiries relating to Advance Child Tax Credit payments, the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit, unprocessed returns and refund claims, and unresolved 2020 tax return issues.
As I discussed in my recently published Annual Report to Congress, it is imperative that IRS phone lines be readily accessible to answer taxpayer questions and provide necessary assistance. Taxpayers understandably become frustrated and demoralized when their good-faith efforts to reach the IRS are met with extended hold times and “courtesy disconnects.” Tax compliance depends on prompt, high-quality customer service, and when compliance becomes unduly burdensome, the IRS runs the risk that taxpayers will simply quit trying.
Posted by Marin Larkin, Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal.