The 2015 tax filing season may not be as uneventful as previous seasons. The IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told tax practitioners at the National Tax Conference in Washington, D.C. that there will likely be a drop in the IRS phone service by 53 percent during the upcoming tax season. Taxpayers that try to contact the IRS by phone may expect to wait a long time to get through. The average time a taxpayer may be on hold will be close to 30 minutes.
Poor phone service is just one of the problems anticipated for 2015. The primary cause for expected tax season trouble stems from the IRS budget, which officials have been warning is not enough to sustain their operations efficiently. To make matters worse, the House has slashed $341 million from the IRS’ budget for 2015. This cut will directly impact its services. The Senate has offered a proposal to increase the IRS budget by $240 million. Even if that happens, it will still be less than what the IRS had in 2010.
IRS budget constraints have an impact on its important services, including those offered directly to taxpayers. Responding to the budget issue, the IRS Commissioner said, “All we can do is try to maximize our services as well as we can; as well as we can is still going to be miserable. You really do get what you pay for.”
Koskinen said that in 2014, the IRS made a request to Congress for $430 million to implement the ACA, but got no funding. Instead, they had to depend upon collection of back taxes and taxpayer services budgets to fund ACA.
Nina Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate, voiced the same helplessness, “The filing season is going to be the worst filing season since I’ve been the National Taxpayer Advocate (in 2001); I’d love to be proved wrong, but I think it will rival the 1985 filing season when returns disappeared.”