IRS Warns Of Slower Tax Refunds, More Identity Theft Risk

IRS commissioner: "We have no choice but to do less with less."

That’s the word in an alarming email obtained by ABC News and sent to IRS employees today by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

The only possible silver lining (especially for tax cheats): fewer audits. To be specific: 46,000 fewer audits this year and 1,800 fewer IRS enforcement officers.

That’s because the IRS budget has been slashed so deeply – the lowest inflation-adjusted budget in nearly two decades -- that Koskinen says “we have no choice but to do less with less.”

The Commissioner writes that the budget cuts will mean a slower and less helpful IRS.

“We now anticipate an even lower level of telephone service than before,” Koskinen writes, “which raises the real possibility that fewer than half of taxpayers trying to call us will actually reach us.”

Refund checks will be delayed by a week or longer and planned new identity-theft protections will be delayed.

Here’s the Commissioners email: