Problems with customer service is the greatest obstacle facing the Americans this tax season, writes USA Today.
“U.S. internal revenue service (IRS) is one of the most dysfunctional Federal agencies,” said Bridget Roberts, the acting protector of taxpayers ‘ rights in its annual report to Congress.
According to the report, taxpayers this year can expect plenty of trouble from delays in the refund and obsolete equipment to the misleading letters about the audit. Here are the 10 major IRS problem affecting customer service:
The IRS in the 2019 financial year, we received about 100 million phone calls, and customer service representatives responded to only 29% of them, the report said. Solution? Congress must provide the necessary funding for the IRS to set an adequate number of personnel able to provide the best customer service.
According to estimates by the IRS, the current plan of the Ministry on the improvement of technological infrastructure will cost about $2.3 to 2.7 billion, the Plan is for several years, and, if fully implemented, will make the IRS more efficient. However, the success of innovations depends on additional funding. The IRS spent $289.7 million for the implementation of this plan in 2019 fiscal year.
The IRS is faced with constant budget cuts. The number of Agency workers has decreased, which increased the load on remaining employees. The Agency’s budget was cut by 20.4% in the period between 2010 and 2019 fiscal years, and the number of employees over this period has declined by more than 20%.
The delay in the refund
The IRS developed filters to prevent fraud refund. Except criminals, because of these filters has been delayed returns of taxpayers who filed the Declaration without violations. In 2019, the level of false positives filter has reached 71%.
Disappointment at Free File
The IRS has partnered with Free File — a group of private companies that provide services for filling of declarations. The goal of the partnership is to offer eligible taxpayers free software to prepare tax returns on the website IRS.gov. The right to use this service have about 105 million taxpayers. Despite the fact that 90% of Americans filed their declarations in electronic form in the 2018 tax year, less than 2% of them did so using software Free File. The reason for dissatisfaction of taxpayers software tax service.
Unqualified tax advisers
The report States that the simplification of process of filing of returns has facilitated the training of tax advisers, many of whom do not have sufficient knowledge in the field of tax law. Attorneys and certified public accountants are required to pass exams and to have specialized education. But currently there are no licensing requirements for Federal employees, providing services of drafting declarations. In 2018, more than 80 million individual tax returns were prepared by unskilled workers, which affects their quality and completing.
The appeals process
The IRS appeals office, created in 1927, strives to resolve disputes with taxpayers without litigation. Specialists in appeals, not always seek to obtain independent conclusions which differ from the position of the Department. This undermines the independence of the appeals process.
Federal agencies are required to develop and implement effective way of communicating with clients who do not understand English. But the tax authorities with this problem. The IRS only translates some important notices in Spanish. In other languages there is no notification.
Confusion with audits
Approximately 16% of notifications about the need to audit returns for the 2015-2019 fiscal years, the IRS sent out a combination of letters, including requests for additional information and notification of upcoming 30 days of the audit. The report says that in this case the taxpayers remains insufficient time to collect all additional documentation and other issues.
Settlement of tax debt
The program the IRS “offer in compromise” allows taxpayers to extinguish your tax debt parts, what is the best option for those who cannot fully pay their tax obligations. The program, however, does not meet the expectations of Congress, the report said. Bridget Roberts urged the Agency to adopt a more liberal policy repayment in order to encourage the taxpayers to the filing of returns and payment of taxes.