The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) released its annual report to Congress today which focuses on a few main themes: tax code simplification/reform, increased funding for the IRS, greater safeguards against identity theft, and improved taxpayer service.
For anyone working in the field of tax relief, and for taxpayers who contact the IRS seeking to address their back tax debt, some of the most interesting statistics are related to taxpayer service. The IRS has a notoriously poor customer service record, especially with regard to the phones:
- IRS received over 100 million calls in fiscal year 2012 and 30% went unanswered
- Average wait time was almost 17 minutes in FY 2012
- IRS goal is to answer 63% of incoming calls in FY 2013, down seven percent from 2012
And these numbers tend to get worse year after year. Obviously the decline in customer service is closely related to the reduction in funding to the IRS. However, I don’t know how they can seriously set a goal of answering only 63% of calls. What an embarassment!