IRS Takes Key Step to Improving Customer Service

March 8, 2022 Topic: IRS Region: United States Blog Brand: Politics Tags: 2022 Tax ReturnTaxpayersTax SeasonBiden IRS

IRS Takes Key Step to Improving Customer Service

The new Taxpayer Experience Office is designed to help taxpayers facing a variety of issues during the tax process.

The Internal Revenue Service has unveiled a new Taxpayer Experience Office in an effort to improve its widespread customer service issues.

The tax agency noted that this office will focus on “all aspects of taxpayer transactions” and work closely with the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the IRS.

“As the IRS continues taking immediate steps this filing season including adding more employees to address the significant challenges facing a resource-constrained IRS, it’s critical that we work going forward to equip the IRS to be a 21st century resource for Americans,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a press release. “The formal establishment of this office will help unify and expand efforts across the IRS to improve service to taxpayers.”

Focus on Communication

Taxpayers should see near-term boosts to customer call backs, expanded payment options, secure two-way messaging, and multilingual services thanks to the new office.

“The IRS is committed to customer experiences that meet taxpayers where they are, in the moments that matter most in people’s lives and in a way that delivers the service that the public expects and deserves,” Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer Ken Corbin, who also serves as the commissioner of the Wage and Investment division, said in a statement.

Corbin said the office should help taxpayers facing a variety of issues.

"Whether checking the status of a tax return, meeting with a revenue agent for an audit, or receiving a tax credit to their bank account, improving service delivery and customer experience are fundamental priorities for us,” Corbin said. “We’re committed to designing and delivering services that better connect with our diverse taxpayer base.”

Uphill Battle

The IRS entered this tax season with 24 million unprocessed paper returns and correspondence. To help with the massive backlogs, the agency has created “surge teams” and is in the process of hiring 10,000 more employees.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, compared to the year 2010, the IRS has been deemed to have 20,000 fewer employees and 20 percent less funding when adjusted for inflation. The staffing levels seen today mean that they have remained roughly the same since the 1970s.

“Taxpayers owed refunds are often not getting them and cannot find out why; taxpayers who filed returns are being sent incorrect notices saying they failed to file; taxpayers who made payments are being told they did not pay and are threatened with collection action; and taxpayers who have questions cannot get answers,” former IRS Commissioners Fred Goldberg, John Koskinen, and Charles Rossotti recently wrote in an op-ed on Yahoo Finance. They said the Biden administration needs “to mount a full-on crisis response.”

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.