Most Serious Problem: Omnichannel Telephone Service

The IRS is treating its telephone operations as a dying relic of taxpayer service as it moves forward with its “Future State” plan to reduce telephone interactions with taxpayers and rely instead on more web-based services and tax practitioners. This approach allows the IRS to focus on the channels of communication it prefers, but not where taxpayers might find the best form of assistance. However, as a part of the right to quality service, taxpayers should be able to contact the IRS over the channel that best meets their needs and have their inquiries fully addressed. The IRS has failed to follow the best practices used in other government agencies and the private sector to increase taxpayer loyalty and satisfaction. Because of the IRS’s archaic telephone technology and operations, taxpayers face long wait times with the worry that the IRS’s telephone assistors will not be able to answer their questions if they are able to get through. Failing to provide high quality service to taxpayers over the phone has the potential to reduce voluntary compliance, which can place an unnecessary burden on the compliance functions of the IRS in the future. 

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