Taxpayers hoping for IRS support when filing taxes next year will be sorely disappointed. Thanks to a house appropriations bill that was recently passed, the IRS taxpayer support level will be seriously decreased in the coming filing season. According to a release from the NTEU (National Treasury Employees Union),
“A House appropriations bill, which drastically slashes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) budget below sequestration levels, condemns taxpayers to substandard service and increased wait times.”
The bill cuts 2015 IRS funding by $341 million below current levels and $1.5 billion below the president’s request. The situation was pretty bad last year. The release sites testimony earlier this year by the National Taxpayer Advocate of declining service levels:
- Almost 20 million phone calls from taxpayers went unanswered last year.
- Those that did get through had long wait times. Telephone hold times rose from 12.8 minutes in 2013 to 20.3 minutes during the first four months of 2014. For tax professionals, it was even longer—an average of 32.5 minutes.
- Those expecting correspondence did not fare better. During 2013, the IRS was unable to process 53 percent of its adjustments correspondence within 45 days, its standard timeframe.
- And, those who waited in long lines to get help in person, encountered service cutbacks. For instance, IRS walk-in centers were forced to stop preparing tax returns for the elderly, low income taxpayers or taxpayers with disabilities. In 2004, IRS prepared 476,000 such returns.
What this means for tax preparers
The trend for taxpayers to file their own returns has been increasing in the past couple of years. Now that IRS service levels have been decreased so drastically, taxpayers are going to need to rely on the help of tax professionals to get the answers and assistance they need. Between the decrease in IRS Service, and the new Annual Filing Season Certificate [insert link], 2015 is the year for tax professionals to shine.
If you are thinking of becoming a tax professional, start this summer by getting the education and training you need – complete with an official certificate from the IRS. There are several ways to get started. The Income Tax School (ITS) is acknowledged by tax industry and IRS executives as the national standard for tax preparer training and was ranked #1 by Trendlists for online tax education. ITS was chosen above all U.S. tax schools to partner with a Fortune 1000 company and is referred to by them as “Best in Class.”