Some encouraging, and possibly surprising, news: A report that was issued by the Treasury General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) stated that the IRS is improving its customer service. This report was announced due to a follow-up audit on the IRS and their customer service practices. The report also mentioned that there were long wait times and issues with scheduling, but that the IRS received very high marks in helpful and accurate information to taxpayers.
The TIGTA posed as ordinary taxpayers and asked customer service agents some general tax questions when they called the IRS’s toll-free number, when they logged on to irs.gov, and when they went into the Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC). Their questions were answered to their satisfaction, with friendliness and accuracy, and with several different IRS resources. Customer service agents were asked questions related to tax laws and tax preparation from Taxpayer Assistance Centers across the country and they were met with very knowledgeable IRS staff.
Their only issue seemed to be with lengthy wait times at the centers and on the phone. The auditors often had to wait more than an hour at the Taxpayer Assistance Centers. A few times they had to wait so long that they were asked to return at another time. Part of the audit showed that some Taxpayer Assistance Centers wouldn’t allow taxpayers to schedule appointments, nor did they apply taxpayer screening guidelines or procedures.
J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector for Tax Administration said, “An important part of the IRS’s mission is to help taxpayers understand and meet their tax obligations. We urge the IRS to make improvements as we have outlined in order to improve taxpayer service.”
The TIGTA hopes that the Wage and Investment Division will help Taxpayer Assistance Center managers make better scheduling procedures that have been requested by taxpayers who need ongoing and in-depth help with complicated tax issues, and for disabled taxpayers. The also requested that the IRS update their website and their recorded messages by letting taxpayers know they will need to provide identification and social security numbers in order to receive assistance. The TIGTA is certain that this will speed up customer service.
The IRS has stated that it is working diligently to assist taxpayers more quickly and accurately to their questions. This procedure will keep taxpayers coming back to the IRS website and the Taxpayer Assistance Centers instead of going elsewhere for help.