According to the latest Kiplinger Tax Letter, only 13% of callers actually reached a live person when calling the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) during the past two filing seasons. While that is not all that surprising to practitioners who were met with painfully long phone times and almost no assistance when dealing with client notices, it is a startling statistic nonetheless.
It wasn’t all the IRS fault. They ended up holding the bag when it came to administering late legislative changes and COVID relief that was slapped into place. But the added pressure combined with not enough staff, especially on phone lines created a nightmare for taxpayers and preparers alike.
So far this season, the opening date for 2022 return e-filing was surprisingly early and most forms are actually ready to be filed. Some states still have pending February release dates but the IRS is currently accepting both business and individual returns.
To add to our preparer sighs of relief, the practitioner hotline seems easier to access than it was for the last two years. Some days, even calling the practitioner line was met with the standard “due to high call volume, we cannot take your call at this time.”
Wait times seem back to under an hour for practitioners in most cases.
While there are not 87,000 new bodies at the IRS yet, the agency reports hiring more than 5,000 new customer service operators last year. So far this season, we are cautiously optimistic.
Practitioner hotline hours extend 7 a.m.-7 p.m. your local time.