The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TPS) reports that IRS employee performance measures focus too much on “cycle time.” In other words, the IRS performance rules encourage employees to take actions and close cases quickly, even at the expense of quality work. This results in IRS employees setting unrealistic deadlines for taxpayers who face audits or IRS collection activity.
Unrealistic deadlines. This is certainly a problem that any practitioner could confirm, but for me it doesn’t hold the #1 position on my list of IRS problems. If the IRS is setting unrealistic deadlines, then at least they’re being responsive. The situation where the IRS employee responds too slowly can be just as frustrating as one where the employee is acting too quickly. However, even worse than that is the lack of discretion given to IRS employees. Most of them do not have authority to deviate from their rules, even in situations where it makes no sense to follow them. Of course, I understand that additional discretion can only be given to employees who, by their exceptional training, education, and experience, are responsible enough to not abuse that discretion. I guess the quality vs. quantity problem really begins at the employment interview.