Today’s tax code is more complicated than ever. There are seemingly endless pages of regulation covering a wide variety of seemingly obscure subjects, from how to handle a gift from a relative to how to calculate the deduction for your home office and just about everything else you could think of. Not only is the tax code complicated, but the stakes are high. A mistake on your tax return could easily lead to IRS penalties, interest, and sometimes even criminal prosecution.
Given the complexity of the law and the importance of getting your return right, you would expect that the IRS would be easily reachable to provide guidance. But they are not. In fact, getting questions answered by the agency can seem impossible as the filing deadline approaches. Due to budget cuts and other internal issues, getting assistance from the IRS can be time consuming if not altogether impossible.
A recent Huffington Post article sheds light on the issue:
Bad as it is now, it will only get worse each day closer to April 15th. In fact, last year more than 18 million taxpayer calls went unanswered and that number will likely increase in 2014 with fewer people to man the IRS phones. In an attempt to manage expectations, the IRS has issued various public messages making it clear that they will not be able to help as many taxpayers by phone or in offices this year. Accordingly the IRS is redirecting taxpayers to their website and asking for patience and understanding. Why?
The IRS has lost 10,000 employees due to budget cuts and sequestration over the last four years. The recent budget deal did not restore the sequester cuts or any of the lost positions so the IRS will continue to do more with less.
As the IRS workforce ages out, less vacancies are being filled causing staff shortages throughout the agency. The current training budget is 85 percent less than in 2009 so there is less money available to train new recruits and those moved into new positions within the IRS. The younger less experienced employee now has less training and less mentorship than ever before and must service a continually growing taxpayer population.
In addition, the IRS has reassigned more than 3,000 additional employees to Tax ID Theft, and cross-trained another 35,000 employees working with taxpayers, to recognize Tax ID Theft indicators and help those victimized by Tax ID theft. While this is a good thing for those taxpayers impacted by Tax ID Theft, it leaves the cross-trained employees who are not reassigned with less time to perform their normal duties and to provide taxpayer assistance.
Millions of calls to the IRS go unanswered each year. Each of these calls presumably represents a well-intentioned taxpayer looking for guidance. But when these taxpayers fail to get the help they need and end up making a mistake on their return, do you think that the IRS will be forgiving given the circumstances? Of course not! The IRS gives no room for error, even if that error is caused by a lack of information.
If you find yourself in hot water with the IRS due to a filing error, or any other issue, we want to help. We can represent you to the IRS and will work tirelessly for the best possible resolution of your case. Call 844-841-9857 to learn more!