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IRS Cuts Back on Important Tax Preparation Assistance Services

Tax Defense Network always keeps taxpayers in the know regarding important tax news. With tax season only a few weeks away, taxpayers are getting ready to prepare their returns for the 2013 tax year. Filing taxes is not an easy task; it is time consuming and for many, very confusing. However, taxpayers looking to the IRS for help with their tax preparation may need to seek help elsewhere.

The IRS announced last week that important IRS assistance and taxpayer services will be shifted to automated resources and volunteer sites. According to a recent IRS bulletin, “The IRS balances anticipated customer service needs against available resources to determine the right mix of technology, employees and IRS partner-provided assistance to meet these needs in the most effective and efficient way.”

Basically, this means that due to budget constraints, the IRS is pushing taxpayers to automated services and volunteer tax preparation sites. According to the IRS’ new commissioner, John Koskinen, due to budget cuts the IRS has 11,000 less employees working this year.

“The IRS’ budget has been reduced significantly in the last few years,” says Kay Wolfson at Tax Defense Network. “Often, we’ll have clients who come to Tax Defense Network after trying to get help from the IRS, but face enormous wait times over the phone. The IRS simply does not have the resources to handle every taxpayer that comes to them for help or advice. I’m not surprised they are relying more and more on automated and volunteer-based services.”

The IRS’ walk-in offices have for several years only offered tax preparation at limited times and only to low-income individuals and families. These offices will now be directing taxpayers to the nearest volunteer site for tax return preparation.

These volunteers sites, called Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offer free tax assistance to taxpayers who make less than $52,000 and to people 60 years and older, respectively. According to the IRS, there will be volunteers trained in basic tax law at every site.

The IRS has also cut back its phone assistance. While the IRS will continue to handle basic tax law questions, they will be referring taxpayers with more complicated questions to information on IRS.gov, tax publications, and tax software packages the taxpayer may be using.

Kay Wolfson at Tax Defense Network continues, “These resources are not always easy for the average person to understand. The reason taxpayers call the IRS is to get their expert advice. I expect more and more taxpayers will be turning to tax professionals, like Tax Defense Network, for help with their tax preparation.”

Tax Defense Network is a tax debt resolution company with headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida. Its staff of licensed tax professionals, enrolled agents and CPAs is A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau and helps individuals and small businesses nationwide with their tax issues.

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