The IRS is struggling. The last three filing seasons were marred by a backlog of unprocessed paper returns, confusing tax code changes, and many times more phone calls to IRS help lines than the agency can handle.
The Biden administration touts a sustained funding increase as a silver bullet to the agency’s problems.
“Frankly, the IRS just does not have the resources that it needs today to serve the American people the way they should be served,” said Natasha Sarin, deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department.
More resources would help, but with or without a budget boost, the agency needs to confront the technology, workforce, and public perception problems at the root of its customer service struggles.
Catch up on the series below:
- Part 1: Paper Addiction Remains Agency’s ‘Kryptonite’
- Part 2: IRS or Waffle House? Hot Market Fuels Struggle to Fill Key Roles
- Part 3: IRS Hits Gridlock in Collision of Tax and Social-Services Roles
- Part 4: Billions of Dollars Later, IRS Lumbers Under Beatles-Era Tech
- Part 5: Trust Still Broken at IRS, Leaving Rettig in Messaging Muddle
In her column, Kelly Phillips Erb (@taxgirl) highlighted the impact of IRS processing delays, from refunds to student loans.
In the Talking Tax podcast, former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and Carlos Lopez, founder of the Latino Tax Professionals Association, talked about how the agency can get on the right track.
We also asked some of the tax world’s heaviest hitters to weigh in with their unfiltered opinions about how to fix the agency:
- Jackson Hewitt CEO Gregory Macfarlane on modernizing the IRS
- NTEU President Tony Reardon on IRS recruitment
- Edward S. Karl of the AICPA on substantial and systemic changes needed at the IRS
- Former IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti on the IRS’s funding issues