Expressing concern that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is struggling to provide taxpayers with quality assistance “as a consequence of shortsighted budget cuts,” five Democratic U.S. Senators have asked Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to assess the funding environment and outline steps that can be taken to improve taxpayer services.
In their September 14 letter, Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) noted that, “Our constituents have shared many examples of the difficulties they faced this tax season, including long wait times to reach the IRS on the telephone and difficulty receiving in-person service.”
“We recognize the challenges of meeting taxpayer needs, particularly during exceptionally busy periods like tax season,” the lawmakers wrote. “We also recognize that the IRS must be supported with the appropriate resource levels to ensure it can complete its responsibilities to taxpayers. As Congress prepares to enact funding legislation for FY 2016, we ask that you provide details of how taxpayer services could be improved should Congress fund the IRS at levels consistent with your FY 2016 budget request, and how those services could be compromised should Congress enact the levels proposed in current funding legislation.”
The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is supportive of the Senators’ focus on taxpayer service. Concerned about the impact of IRS service reductions on taxpayers and tax practitioners, the AICPA governing Council last May adopted a resolution urging policy makers to create a bi-partisan 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.”