Hoping to Speak to IRS Agent About Taxes? Be Prepared to Wait

Apr 11, 2014 5:40pm

The US government wants your tax dollars but if you call in with a question — ie., about how to fill out specific forms — good luck getting an answer.

Your wait time could be between 30 minutes and an hour. Talk about a taxing experience.

Related: Tax tips on dealing with the IRS.

At the start of this tax season, Commissioner John Koskinen, the head of the IRS, appeared on YouTube warning of  ”extensive” wait times.

“Given our very limited resources, our phone lines are going to be extremely busy this year,” Koskinen says in the video. “We are working to limit these waiting times as much as possible, and I apologize that we can’t do more in that regard this year.”

In an interview with ABC News, Koskinen said getting taxpayers to pay when they can’t get their filing questions answered was the agency’s “biggest concern.”

Read More: Skip the Stamps, File Electronically

Last year, 109 million people called the IRS. Forty percent of calls trying to reach an agent went unanswered by the IRS, according to a January report. Those who got through experienced an average wait time of 18 minutes.

Nina Olson, the national taxpayer advocate, said she’d never seen service so bad.

“I’m outraged, you know. I feel that taxpayers have a right to quality service,” she said.

Koskinen said the IRS had reallocated funds to serve taxpayers better “but we have obligations we can’t avoid.”

He said the agency had cut 10,000 workers in the last four years because its budget had been cut by $1 billion. This tax season, he hopes only 30 percent of all calls are unanswered.

“I view it as intolerable,” Koskinen said. “Nobody cares more about it then the people that work for us.”

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