In a previous post we wrote about why this year taxpayers should have lower expectations regarding service from the Internal Revenue Service. Among other things a reduction in the number of IRS employees due to budgetary constraints is to blame. Several weeks into the tax filing season, the IRS commissioner provided a snapshot of how things are going. He indicated that thus far, overall things are “going well.”
Through mid February more than 40 million returns have been filed. Over 30 million refunds were issued, totaling $100 billion. In addition, individual taxpayers are likely pleased that the number of audits conducted is at a five year low. The reduction in the number of audits is due to fewer auditors being employed by the IRS.
That is not to say that taxpayers are not feeling a crunch when it comes to receiving help from the IRS. As was expected, wait times for telephone help lines are long.
While things appear to be running smoothly now, it is possible that tax payers could encounter difficulties resolving issues that arise later. As a result of the state of the IRS, problems that may have easily been cleared up in the past could drag on and result in extra fees and penalties to the tax payer.
Tax payers facing these situations need to take steps to protect themselves. In many cases the best way to do that is to work with a lawyer who handles tax matters. These individuals understand the process utilized by the IRS and can help guide you through it.