April 17, 2015

The budget cuts felt by the IRS could trickle down to taxpayers in the form of delayed tax returns, warn insiders and experts.

BudgetCutSignificant Cuts

According to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, the IRS suffered budget cuts in excess of 300 million dollars this year, which has led to short staffing and difficulties when working through returns. As a result, taxpayers are likely to experience much longer wait times to speak with IRS customer service representatives.

As the filing deadline draws closer, experts warn that longer and longer wait times will be the norm. There simply is not enough staff available to handle all of the calls that come in during prime tax season.

Longer Waits

waiting

In addition, taxpayers expecting refunds will also have to wait longer, especially if they file paper returns. Paper returns require manual review, and there are simply fewer employees available to handle such reviews. Experts anticipate the stack of returns will grow larger and larger as tax season progresses, leading to significant backlog. There are also serious concerns among experts concerning the quality of return processing by IRS workers. With fewer hands on deck, employees are more likely to experience burnout that could lead to errors or missed fraudulent returns resulting from identity theft or attempts at tax fraud or evasion.

whatyoucandoWhat You Can Do

While taxpayers chomping at the bit for tax refunds will have to exercise patience, there are things that tax filers can do expedite the process, according to the IRS commissioner,

  • Electronic filing is much faster and more efficient than filing paper returns. And the majority of taxpayers qualify to e-file their federal returns for no charge.
  • Utilizing the services of a professional accountant or tax attorney can reduce errors and help taxpayers avoid IRS inquiries for further information. The money spent to pay a professional to prepare your tax returns could be money well spent this year.
  • Complete your returns sooner rather than later if you’re expecting a refund. Waiting until the April 15 deadline increases the likelihood that your paperwork will be buried in the onslaught of returns filed during the IRS’ busiest season.

The bottom line is simple:  the IRS is short-staffed, and the general public must remain patient and work with the IRS as tax returns are generated and mailed or e-filed.