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IRS Commissioner: Customer Service Issues Stem from Budget Cuts

On Wednesday, April 22, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen submitted written testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee assessing the IRS's performance during filing season. He opened his report by citing $230 billion in refunds issued from roughly 70% of the - currently - 120 million processed returns. This success, he admits, is marred by customer service troubles.

Since staffing the agency accounts for three quarters of the IRS budget, the commissioner believes that budget cuts led to a reduction in IRS employees that caused long phone wait times.

Here are some interesting numbers from this tax season:

  • Only 40% of customer service calls were answered during the final days of filing season.
  • Wait times for phone calls could be as long as 30 minutes. 
  • 8.1 million phone calls to the IRS customer service line resulted in a disconnect.

Commissioner Koskinen recommends expanding online services as one way to address these issues in coming years, pointing to the increased amount of internet traffic at IRS.gov between 2014 and 2015.

To read the testimony in its entirety, click here.

Source: Internal Revenue Service

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