On December 8, 2014, the IRS Oversight Board released its 2014 Taxpayer Attitude Survey. As is probably no surprise to many tax professionals who deal with the IRS on a regular basis, the survey marked the lowest level of satisfaction with interactions with the IRS since its inception.
The Chair of the board said, “Taxpayer satisfaction with IRS customer service has fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade. The Board believes this can be directly tied to deep cuts in IRS funding which have served only to punish honest America’s taxpayers who must endure long wait times over the IRS toll-free telephone lines and at walk-in centers. Taxpayers understand what’s going on – a solid majority supports extra funding for IRS customer service. However, Congress is turning back the clock on the significant gains made in customer service since the passage of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. It is time to reinvest in the IRS to help honest taxpayers comply with a complex tax code and to protect the integrity of our tax system.”
However, this is only part of the public’s interaction with the IRS, and tax practitioners can also attest to the fact that the IRS seems not only to be dealing with low morale and higher pressure to close cases without appropriate attention to detail, but the IRS also appears to have less and less patience with taxpayers whose problems largely arose from the severe economic downturn in 2009 and beyond. In addition, the IRS has come to depend more and more on the assertion of the negligence penalty to generate additional revenue. Certainly, the feel good days of the IRS feel long past.