In her testimony Wednesday, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson provided an update on the IRS’s performance this year. Communications with taxpayers are a real trouble spot, Olson said, with only 18 percent of phone calls answered in the first four weeks of the 2019 tax filing season. The tax agency is also far behind on responding to correspondence. The 35-day government shutdown had a negative impact on both activities, Olson said, exacerbating long-standing problems with insufficient staffing and funding at the IRS.
“I am very concerned that the IRS, after years of not having adequate funding for taxpayer service, that it is at a point that it is stretched so thin that things could go very badly wrong or just simply that taxpayers will give up trying to reach the IRS and not get the assistance that they need,” Olson said.
Olson also noted that while the redesigned 1040 tax form is simplifying the process for some filers, “for the majority of taxpayers who will have to complete additional schedules, the new form is likely to create more complexity.”
Here’s an overview of some basic statistics on the current tax season from Olson’s report: