On the heels of the IRS release of its plans for the influx of $80 billion over 10 years, a volunteer group with the agency will hold six public meetings this week via teleconference to hear suggestions on how to improve customer service. Among the committees is the one focused on toll-free phone lines, including the Practitioner Priority Service hotline.
The meetings of six committees under the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) start Tuesday with the Taxpayer Assistance Center Improvements and the Tax Forms and Publications project committees. The Special Projects and the Taxpayer Communications Project committees meet Wednesday, and the Notices and Correspondence and the Toll-Free Phone Lines project committees meet Thursday.
The meetings are being held in the week after the IRS released its strategic operating plan for the $80 billion over 10 years that Congress appropriated for it in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, P.L. 117-169. The agency released goals and other metrics for the 10 years but concentrated its spending plan on fiscal years 2022 through 2024.
Those plans for the three years include adding 19,545 new employees, with almost 6,500 in taxpayer services and over 7,200 in enforcement.
In a phone call with reporters Thursday, IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel discussed why the agency's customer service fell so dramatically and how the money will be used to help taxpayers.
One example that Werfel cited: In 2010, the IRS had 95,000 full-time employees to meet the demands of 310 million people. At the end of fiscal year 2022, the IRS had about 80,000 full-time employees, a decrease of about 20%, as the U.S. population grew to 334 million. At the same time, the IRS had to implement major tax law changes, some related to the pandemic.
"Now that we have long-term funding, the IRS has an opportunity to transform our operations and provide the service that people deserve. We're already making progress in a number of areas, and more is on the way," he said.
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), which represents taxpayers from within the IRS, provides essential funding along with technical, administrative, and clerical support for TAP and its member volunteers. TAP, which is a federal advisory committee, is accountable to Treasury, the IRS, and TAS.
The public is invited to make oral comments or submit written statements for consideration. However, because of the limited time and structure of meeting, those wishing to participate in the public meetings must contact the relevant people listed here:
- Tax Forms and Publications Project Committee (meeting Tuesday): Robert Rosalia at 1-888-912-1227 or 718-834-2203;
- Taxpayer Assistance Center Improvements Project Committee (Tuesday): Matthew O'Sullivan at 1-888-912-1227 or 510-907-5274;
- Taxpayer Communications Project Committee (Wednesday): Conchata Holloway at 1-888-912-1227 or 214-413-6550;
- Special Projects Committee (Wednesday): Antoinette Ross at 1-888-912-1227 or 202-317-4110;
- Toll-Free Phone Lines Project Committee (Thursday): Rosalind Matherne at 1-888-912-1227 or 202-317-4115; and
- Notices and Correspondence Project Committee (Thursday): Ann Tabat at 1-888-912-1227 or 602-636-9143.
— To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Martha Waggoner at Martha.Waggoner@aicpa-cima.com.