With the 2018 tax season behind us, a whopping 92% of American taxpayers opted to file their taxes electronically – vs. just over 58% ten years prior. Of the 137 million individual tax returns filed, 70% received a refund – with close to 87% of those refunds being delivered via direct deposit. These numbers validate that even the way we manage our taxes has evolved in this digital age. More than ever before, American taxpayers are leveraging “virtual” avenues to manage their taxes. But in this digital world, how does the IRS support the millions of taxpayers that require assistance and support directly from the IRS? In this new self-service tax world, can American taxpayers still find a human to help them?
The IRS has seen a significant drop in the number of calls it has received to its service lines year after year. The amount of times taxpayers spent on hold when calling the IRS has nearly doubled in this time – ballooning from just 5.1 minutes to 9 minutes. Even more concerning? The IRS’s account management telephone assistors only answered 23 percent of the calls they received and that only includes the calls made to Account Management lines. For taxpayers calling into the IRS’s compliance lines, they spent an average of 41 minutes on hold.
So what can the IRS do to improve its service levels for American taxpayers? While the IRS is investing money into tax enforcement, budgets earmarked to enhance taxpayer service are on the decline –forecasting for the 2020 tax season includes a 6.6 percent decrease in taxpayer service.
Taxpayers relying on the IRS to provide them the support they need to navigate their taxes may be left on hold. The good news is there are services and experts in the industry to aid them in their tax journey with the IRS. If you need assistance getting IRS compliant, companies like Optima Tax Relief are there to fill that support gap and de-stress the experience.