The National Taxpayer Advocate released her 2022 annual report this week, which describes the many challenges facing the IRS. High on the list, to no surprise, is the very poor quality of customer service provided to taxpayers. The report states “The main focus of this year’s report is the elephant in the room – the continuing customer service challenges taxpayers are experiencing and the negative impact of the filing season back log.”
The Taxpayer Advocate emphasizes that in 2023 the IRS must focus resources on core functions – processing tax returns, paying refunds, answering and addressing telephone calls, and providing in-person assistance.
Specific recommendations for IRS improvements made by the Taxpayer Advocate include:
1. Hire and train more human resources employees to better manage the hiring of all IRS employees. The IRS expects to continue hiring in large numbers with its increased funding;
2. Ensure all IRS employees are properly trained with the emphasis on training customer facing employees;
3. Create online accounts with functionality comparable to private financial institutions. The IRS is probably decades behind when it comes to technology;
4. Improve readability of tax transcripts;
5. Enable all taxpayers to e-file tax returns;
6. Implement scanning technology to machine read paper-filed tax returns and correspondence;
7. Overhaul the IRS website to make it more user friendly; and
8. Issue clear and understandable notices and guidance.
We spend a lot of time working directly with the IRS and are already noticing some improvements. 2023 should be a year of significant service improvements. As the IRS continues to improve, this will translate into greater collection enforcement. The IRS will slowly but surely begin to move faster to execute bank levies, wage garnishments, record liens, increase its number of Revenue Officers, etc.
Taxpayers are well-advised to consult a tax professional to consider options to address now, those unresolved tax problems. IRS growing pains may result in taxpayers needing the help of a tax professional in the coming years more than ever as a large number of new, inexperienced IRS employees begin working. It will simply take time for new IRS employees to fully learn their job. As they do, mistakes will happen.