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In a recent report by National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olsen, the IRS was only able to answer 61% of phone calls made by taxpayers to the agency. Just 10 years ago, the IRS was able to address 87% of calls. The reasons cited were the increasing complexity of tax questions unable to be answered by automated systems as a result of the overall increasing complexity of the tax code. This coupled with budget cuts to the agency resulted in nearly 4 out of 10 calls being dropped or unable to be addressed. As a result, the IRS is requesting an immediate increase in funding:
“The I.R.S. has been chronically underfunded for years now, at the same time it has been required to take on more and more work, including administering benefit programs for some of the most challenging populations,” the report says. “Without adequate funding, the I.R.S. will fail at its mission.”
Furthermore, the report goes on to cite bad “tax moral” continuing to build if this trend is not reversed soon, as well as a need for greater protection of taxpayer data to prevent identity theft as well as assisting taxpayers who are victims of identity theft, doing a better job in cases where the I.R.S. inappropriately bars taxpayers from receiving the earned-income tax credit, and more oversight of paid income tax preparers.