If you have not been aware lately, it would be understandable if you had not given that many people rank dealing with the IRS like going to the dentist, the Internal Revenue Service has undergone a serious cutback in funding from Congress. The results of which are noticed at different levels of interactions with the Agency.
One aspect is that the Audit rate is much lower than it has been in recent history. The rate has dropped over 10 per cent to the lowest level since 2004. See; Rubin, Richard.(2015, November 4). IRS Audits Fall to an 11-Year Low. The Wall Street Journal, p A2. As well as serving a collection function, the Audit serves an important function to the system in keeping things honest and orderly. This is especially true in an self-assessing or “honor” system.
Another result of the cutback in staffing and enforcement is that there are less Revenue Officers, Service Centers, Telephone Agents etc. to service taxpayer calls, inquiries, mail and case resolution. When trying to contact the Service via the phone, a long often times unbearably long wait times are encountered. It is not unusual for the caller to be told via a recorded announcement that the hold time before anyone picks up is over 30-45 minutes.
Additionally, the 110 West 44th Street, New York, NY walk-in Service Center has been closed, in effect leaving mid-town Manhattan without a walk-in location. There are Centers located in the Financial District, 290 Broadway, New York, NY 10007 and uptown in Harlem, 2283 3RD Avenue, New York, NY 10035 as well as Service Centers in the other Boros. (See www.irs.gov.com for complete locations and information)
Finally, the Service Centers that process mailed correspondence have been negatively affected by these cutbacks. The time that it takes to process correspondence and mailed documents has grown ever longer. It is not unusual for cases requiring review of mailed documents to take from 6-9 months for the Service to complete the review, where in the past, this review could have been accomplished within 3 months.
All in all, these cutbacks negatively affect how a taxpayers case is handled. I know no one will shed a tear for cutbacks to the IRS funding. People should be aware of the foregoing if they have an ongoing IRS case or need to call the Service. PATIENCE and more PATIENCE would be greatly recommended these days.