John R. Bullis: Why IRS is busy
If you need to talk to IRS to get information or answers to questions about a letter or notice you received, good luck! Plan to wait on the telephone listening to its “music” possibly for a long period of time.
IRS is busy and doing the best it can. The Justice Department announced recently that the final agreements with Swiss Banks are completed. The banks are cooperating in providing information about the “secret” bank account owners.
The IRS is looking at those Swiss bank accounts to try to discover if the owners failed to report all of their taxable income from interest earnings, dividends, sales and other taxable income.
That means many IRS employees are working on that matter so fewer employees are available to work on the regular US income tax returns and their regular work.
As you know, IRS is also working to see about the compliance with the medical insurance program known as Obamacare. That takes more IRS employees away from the regular work.
Congress has not increased the IRS budget much in recent years. The computers are old and need to be replaced. But the big problem is, many experienced IRS employees are or have retired. Some of those positions have been replaced with new, inexperienced employees and some positions are still vacant.
I talked with an experienced IRS collection agent recently. He had helped taxpayers in the past resolve problems with payroll tax not being paid correctly. He said, “I can’t help you resolve that client problem since we are only working on cases that owe more than $100,000. Good luck on dealing directly with the IRS Service Center …”
Recently all CPAs and other regular tax preparers were required to “revalidate” their authority to talk with IRS and to access the IRS transcripts for clients that had filed authorization forms 2848. It took about 3 1/2 hours to get my “revalidation” done. IRS said that program is being done to reduce the possibility of unauthorized folks using the information. Do you remember the name of your first pet?
When I finally have been able to talk with an IRS employee, after they switch me to some other employee, it has been a good experience. The employee did help get the information I needed and did help resolve the issue. I think most IRS employees are just good people in a tough job.
Did you hear? “The difference between an amateur and a professional is that an amateur gives up when encountering difficulties and a professional speeds up.”
John Bullis is a certified public accountant, personal financial specialist and certified senior adviser who has served Carson City for 45 years. He is founder emeritus of Bullis and Company CPAs.