A few weeks ago we brought you a report that said the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was begging for more money because their customer service had gotten so bad they were ignoring 60% of all phone calls.
But it turns out this horrible customer service can be blamed on the fact that the IRS had cut its own customer service budget to the tune of 76% from the year before. So it diverts a ton of cash from its customer service to other activities and then blames Congress.
WEEKLY STANDARD – If you tried to contact the IRS with a question about your taxes this year, chances are you didn’t get a response. The IRS estimated that it would only answer 17 million of the 49 million calls received this filing season. Taxpayers lucky enough to have the IRS answer their calls waited an average of 34.4 minutes for assistance–nearly double the wait time last year (18.7 minutes).
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has blamed the IRS’s “abysmal” customer service on congressional budget cuts–funding is down $1.2 billion from its 2010 peak–but a new congressional report points the finger back at the IRS. While congressional funding for the IRS remained flat from 2014 to 2015, the IRS diverted $134 million away from customer service to other activities.
In addition to the $11 billion appropriated by Congress, the IRS takes in more than $400 million in user fees and may allocate that money as it sees fit. In 2014, the IRS allocated $183 million in user fees to its customer service budget, but allocated just $49 million in 2015–a 76 percent cut.