WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report today providing new details on the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) self-admitted “abysmal” level of customer service provided to American taxpayers.
Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) sharply criticized the IRS and called on the agency to immediately improve customer service and actually help American taxpayers.
“Reaching an IRS employee often seems as unlikely as winning Powerball,” said Chairman Brady. “GAO has confirmed once again that few Americans are able to actually reach an employee and get the help they need. It is clear that the IRS needs to reexamine its priorities. Our committee will hold the IRS accountable as it begins the 2016 filing season.”
BACKGROUND ON GAO REPORT
On April 22, 2015, the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee held a hearing on the IRS tax-filing season. Committee members highlighted how the IRS purposely diverted funding from its user fee account away from customer service. This is despite the fact that Congress level-funded customer service from FY 2014 to 2015.
The Committee also published its findings in a report that highlighted the fact that the IRS reduced its user fee spending for customer service by 73 percent, which contributed to poor customer service.
GAO’s report today on the 2015 tax-filing season reinforces the Committee’s findings. GAO found:
- The IRS provided “the lowest level of telephone service during fiscal year 2015,” with only 38 percent of callers able to reach an IRS representative.
- Average wait times have tripled from 2010 to 2015, from 10.8 minutes to more than 30 minutes.
- The IRS has not developed any plans for a comprehensive customer service strategy to address these problems.
GAO confirms that “Without such a strategy, Treasury and IRS can neither measure nor effectively communicate to Congress the types and levels of customer service taxpayers should expect.”