AICPA Member Survey Results Reinforce to Lawmakers the Need for Path to Improved IRS Customer Service

June 25, 2015

Jeffrey A. Porter

Jeffrey A. Porter, AICPA Council member, offers resolution to Council on May 17.
Photo credit: Sam Kittner/

An American Institute of CPAs’ (AICPA) member survey conducted in April revealed that half of those surveyed were either somewhat or very dissatisfied with the level of service they received from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) during the past tax filing season.

IRS service was one of the issues CPAs discussed last month during their meetings with Capitol Hill lawmakers following the AICPA Spring Council Meeting. The CPAs presented the survey results to their members of Congress, as well as sharing their personal tax season experiences. (See related story.)

Concerned about the impact of IRS service reductions on taxpayers and tax practitioners, the AICPA Council on May 17 adopted a resolution 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.”

“Everyone is well aware that service has declined,” Melissa Labant, CPA, AICPA director of tax advocacy, said, “but when we can provide decision makers with concrete information about true impact, that reinforces our message tremendously.” 

When survey respondents were asked about specific experiences for telephone service and responses by mail, the results validated the perception of an agency that is unable to meet its customer service obligations. Close to half (44 percent) of the members responding said it took over 90 days to receive a substantive response to an inquiry. When asked how often they were able to reach an IRS representative on the Practitioner Priority Service line almost one-third (31 percent) said “never” or “rarely.” Another third (32 percent) said they were sometimes able to reach a representative.

“We hear members loud and clear,” Labant said. Seeking improved IRS service continues as a top priority for the AICPA this year, she said.

Almost one third of survey’s respondents were neutral. Approximately 75 percent of those responding were either sole practitioners or from firms with two to 10 employees.