Lawmakers Ask Treasury Secretary for Plan to Improve Taxpayer Service

July 23, 2015

IRS signA bipartisan group of House members have written to U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, requesting that he personally review this year’s performance by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and provide both an assessment of the problem and options for improving IRS service to taxpayers by September 8.

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), as well as state CPA societies, encouraged members of Congress to sign the letter to Secretary Lew.  Those efforts were bolstered by CPAs who shared their personal tax season experiences during meetings with their Congressional representatives in May, in conjunction with the AICPA Spring Meeting of Council.  In a related action taken to demonstrate its concern about the impact of IRS service reductions on taxpayers and tax practitioners, the AICPA Council adopted a resolution on May 17 urging policy makers to create a forum to “make recommendations that enable the IRS to achieve its stated mission and to transform it into a modern functioning, evolutionary, and respected federal agency for the 21 Century.”  

Led by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Fla.), the 47 members of Congress who signed the July 8 letter to Secretary Lew expressed concern that this year’s tax season has been one of the most difficult for the IRS in meeting its objective to provide taxpayers with quality assistance.  “Our constituents have shared many examples of inadequate service this season,” the House members explained.  “First, taxpayers have faced unacceptably long wait times to get through to the IRS on the telephone. … Even when callers get through to a live person, they receive less helpful assistance than in prior years.”

Aware of a request for a Government Accountability Office study to review the historical and current use of IRS resources and issue recommendations for the efficient use of resources to meet the needs of taxpayers, the lawmakers asked Secretary Lew to review the IRS’ performance and provide a written assessment of the problem within 60 days.

“We look forward to hearing from you in the very near future on your plans for improving taxpayer service next year,” the legislators wrote.