DENVER — Tax filing season begins Tuesday and this year could be especially miserable for individuals and tax preparers.
The Internal Revenue Service is predicting long wait times for anyone who calls it’s help hotline.
Jana Evelsizer-Olson is a tax attorney in Westminster who said she’s been spending hours on the phone every day waiting for an IRS worker to answer client questions.
“At least an hour wait time but most of the time up to two hours,” said Evelsizer-Olson.
The mother of three finds herself reading books to her youngest child or doing laundry while she keeps three different phones on speaker, waiting for a live person to answer.
“If it’s taking two hours to get through, I don’t get through that many clients a day which means that my workload backs up, which means the clients don`t have their answers, which means really the IRS isn`t getting their money and getting their returns filed as fast,” points out Evelsizer-Olson.
The IRS blames Congress for cutting its budget five years in a row. The agency’s 2015 budget is $10.9 billion dollars compared to $12.5 billion dollars in 2010.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has released a letter stating the agency has 13,000 fewer employees than it did in 2010. Koskinen predicts half of all Americans who call the helpline this tax season, will probably give up trying to reach a live person.
Andrew Naylor is a Denver C.P.A who predicts 2015 “to be one of the worst tax seasons in the last 30 years.”
Naylor said he’s not much better off than individuals who file their own taxes, even though he has access to a special IRS help number, “We have a priority hotline, in fact I just called it a few minutes ago and it`s right now at over 60 minutes wait time.”
Naylor says new tax rules created by the Affordable Care Act will only make tax returns more complicated, increasing calls for help and wait times.
“I think it’s going to put more people in a position that they`re going to need professionals to do their returns and even for us to get ahold of the IRS and handle their issues is almost an impossible task,” said Naylor.
Still, no one is predicting more funding for the IRS.
“Supporting a bill to fund the IRS so they can go after more taxpayers? That`s not a popular bill. However if you want to make the IRS more efficient you know so that you can get through and can help taxpayers, they do need more funding,” said Evelsizer-Olson.
The IRS complains that cuttings its enforcement budget by $160 million dollars this year, means it won’t collect $2 billion dollars through audits, money that could’ve funded more helpline support workers.