Very recently the IRS Taxpayer Advocate warned Congress that the IRS’s workload continues to increase while its funding is decreasing. The Taxpayer Advocate is concerned that under these circumstances, the IRS is not able to do the job it is tasked with doing. While some may smile when hearing such news and think– “Good, the less IRS the better!”– be careful what you ask for.
As the funding for IRS operations is reduced, services that we have come to expect from the IRS are vanishing as well. Reaching a local IRS agent by telephone is fast becoming a thing of the past. More and more often, matters are being assigned to 800-number call centers where you can be on hold for 30 minutes or more before reaching a live person. If you need to call back with more information, you endure the same wait and end up with a different person.
Delays are part of the process when dealing with a tax problem but now those delays seem longer than ever. With outstanding obligations accruing interest and sometimes penalties, delay can be costly. The IRS always encourages voluntary payments while an issue is being reviewed and given these delays, sometimes that can make sense.
As the IRS faces the same economic challenges of any other business, having an experienced advocate that knows where to go, knows how to streamline the process, and knows how to manage the ever changing bureaucratic landscape is important.