The IRS’ Taxpayer Advocate has released its review of the 2017 filing season (PDF).
While noting that tax filing was relatively hassle-free for those who did not require assistance from the IRS, the Advocate found that “results were mixed” for taxpayers who sought help from the agency.
Sitting on hold with the IRS was a large part of my tax clinic work during law school, and it looks like some things have improved since then. According to the Taxpayer Advocate, those who called to speak to a Taxpayer Assistance Center’s accounts management (AM) representative, spent less time on hold this year — wait times decreased from 11.1 minutes in FS 2016 to 6.5 minutes in FS 2017.
However, the Taxpayer Advocate notes that not everyone was so lucky:
“The IRS compliance telephone lines, which are not included in the AM category, showed significant declines. For example, the IRS received about 2.7 million calls on its “Installment Agreement/Balance Due” line, which taxpayers generally call if they cannot pay their tax liabilities in full and are seeking to arrange a payment plan. The IRS answered only 40 percent of these calls during FS 2017 (down from 76 percent in FS 2016), and wait times increased from 11 minutes in FS 2016 to a staggering 47 minutes in FS 2017.”
More: “Review of the 2017 Filing Season,” Internal Revenue Service (PDF)