Navigating the IRS in the age of budget cuts

For the unfortunate taxpayer who receives an IRS notice bringing bad news, responding to and navigating the IRS to going to be a headache.

Consider this statistic from Professor Kenneth P. Thomas, University of Missouri:  in 1992 the Internal Revenue Service had 117,000 employees.  By 2012, the number of employees had decreased by 23% to 90,280! During the same period, the number of tax returns increased from 113 million to over 143 million.  Fewer employees with increasing workloads means deteriorating customer service.

In addition to hiring freezes and retirements at IRS caused by years of static budgets, Congress in its infinite wisdom is currently proposing even more cuts by as much as 24%. In 2013, the IRS budget was automatically cut by the “sequester” in the amount of $500,000.000.00. That’s right…$500 million. IRS-good, bad, ugly-performs our nation’s accounts receivable function. Starving IRS causes cuts to customer service and hampers its abiltiy to collect taxes.  A private business that short-changes its accounts receivable department results in not collecting payments from its customers and potentially failing to pay its business expenses. Don’t we want our country to be able to pay its bills?

In 2013, IRS customer phone service continued to decline. Over 100 million calls were placed to IRS but only 61% were answered.  The IRS collection function to date has failed to collect over $116 billion in assessed but unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties. IRS scandals, exponential growth in identity theft, budget cuts…what does this mean to the average taxpayers who deserve efficient customer service?

It means longer wait times, erroneous IRS decisions, and difficulty in communicating with IRS. The taxpayer will need help.

Enrolled Agents are the nation’s only federally licensed tax practitioners, and often are former IRS employees who know how to navigate the IRS.  An Enrolled Agent is a federal tax expert and a local resource with an affordable fee structure.  Jeffrey Mitchell, Enrolled Agent, with 23 years IRS experience is your local resource and has your back.