The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) workload has been increasing for years as its headcount has been contracting. Like other employers facing labor shortages, the IRS is having its own difficulties finding qualified job applicants, but there’s been signs of progress:
- Congress provided the IRS with $80 billion in additional funding over the next 10 years to increase hiring. More than 5,000 new customer service representatives were hired in October 2022 with training expected to be completed by February 20, 2023.
- The 4.7 million original individual returns backlog (Forms 1040) in January 2022 was reduced to about 400,000 by December, but is still anticipated to impact customer service.
Difficulty Reaching IRS Customer Service
Of the 173 million calls the IRS received during FY 2022, only 22 million or 13 percent got through to an IRS employee after an average wait time of 29 minutes. As a result, most callers could not get answers to their tax-law questions, receive help with their account problems, or speak with an employee about compliance notices.
Telephone service for tax professionals hit an all-time low of 16 percent to a Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) hotline after an average 25-minute wait time for those who got through.
What to Do
If you need to call them, some say they have better results reaching the IRS in the morning, starting as early as 7 a.m. Eastern time, and Wednesday through Friday seem to be the best days to reach a representative. However, one should still expect long waits.
The IRS admits phone service wait times are often longer on Mondays and Tuesdays, on weekends and the closer it gets to April’s filing deadline. It is important to:
- be patient,
- be polite, and
- keep good records of contacts, attempted contacts, and one’s discussions.
The IRS has encouraged people to establish an online account at www.IRS.gov to help access information quickly. The IRS has invested in online capacities to provide taxpayers with a quick and easy way to access information so the calls for more complicated issues can be answered in a timelier manner.
If a call is necessary, the IRS encourages people to have all the information they need before filing a complete and accurate return. Organize and gather 2022 tax records including Social Security numbers, Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, Adoption Taxpayer Identification Numbers and this year's Identity Protection Personal Identification Numbers valid for calendar year 2023.
For relocating families, it is important to understand how relocation expenses are reported on various countries’ tax forms from the company. In most cases, NEI provides information about relocation-related expenses directly on the relocating employee’s NEI website and have access to any summary reports of tax related expenses in this one place.
NEI helps answer questions related to relocation expenses as reportable income. Employers can help manage employee expectations by reminding employees who are “surprised” about the tax implications from their relocation that:
- The policy they were provided indicated the tax implications.
- The details of their expenses are available on their NEI website.
- If they still have questions, they can reach out to their NEI Account Executive for more information.
For those moving cross-border, where two countries might be involved, tax expertise is always recommended, but here is some general information:
- One-way moves: Most companies offer a tax briefing to help the employee understand the nuances of the tax regime to which they are moving. Some companies might help with the first year of professional tax preparation fees.
- Assignments: It would be typical for companies to provide the tax preparation services for home and host countries.
In most cases, NEI coordinates with the company’s payroll or international tax provider to ensure they have all mobility expense information from the assignment to appropriately include in the home and host country payrolls.
Tips for Filing Taxes
“This filing season is the first to benefit the IRS and our nation’s tax system from multi-year funding in the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Acting IRS Commissioner Doug O’Donnell. “With these new additional resources, taxpayers and tax professionals will see improvements in many areas of the agency this year.”
The IRS encourages everyone to have all the information they need in hand for a complete and accurate return.
As with any tax year, filing for your taxes with accurate information is the best way to eliminate potential frustrations down the road, whether you are reporting child tax credits received or relocation expenses. NEI can’t help with the former, but we certainly can assist with the latter. Help for questions is just a call away…and NEI answers our calls!
The above article is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before making any decisions or transactions.