Senator From Indiana: IRS Customer Service Has Reached an All-time Low


Earlier this year, my constituent services team assisted an Indiana resident named James from Washington County in receiving a $2,137 tax refund.

That is not unusual. My office assisted hundreds of constituents last year in obtaining money due to them by the IRS. What set James’ situation apart was the fact that he had been waiting for his return since January 2019.

In the United States, Tax Day, April 18, is rapidly approaching. Unfortunately, the IRS’s customer service has deteriorated significantly in recent years. The IRS is currently facing a backlog of more than 24 million tax returns and an insufficient plan for resolving the backlog.

The political $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which Democrats rammed through during President Biden’s first months, included a $1.86 billion earmark for the IRS, but it is unclear how, or even if, the money was used to address the issue.


Only 11% of the IRS’s 282 million phone calls were answered last year. And by 2020, the agency will have paid more than $3 billion in interest on late returns. This figure is only increasing.

Along with ensuring that Hoosiers like James receive their refunds as promptly as possible, I’ve been urging IRS bureaucrats to address the underlying issues. I pressed IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig in April of last year about delayed returns at several regional offices.

The responses I received were unsatisfactory, and I followed up by requesting additional details at the IRS budget hearing a few months later. This line of inquiries includes one about the IRS’s re-entry programme for employees. While the majority of Americans returned to work in person last summer, IRS employees continued to work remotely, exacerbating an already dire backlog.

Taxpayers who have complied with all applicable laws have been forced to wait months, if not years, to obtain money they are owed. To add insult to injury, it is practically hard for average Americans to contact the IRS support line. Last fall, it was revealed that a company called EnQ was robo-calling the IRS help line and selling thousands of dollars worth of queue spots.

While I am assisting individual filers in navigating delays and urging the bureaucracy to alleviate the backlog, there are steps you can do to ensure you receive your refund on schedule this year.

To begin, file immediately. Early filers nearly always receive their returns more quickly. The last-minute surge of returns in mid-April may cause processing delays.

Second, file electronically and make payments via direct deposit. Over the last two years, the vast majority of delays have occurred with mailed-in tax returns. While there is no excuse for these delays, you can mitigate them by opting for electronic filing and direct deposit. Online filing is as safe and secure as it has ever been.

Third, gather all necessary documentation and double-check your return’s accuracy before filing. This may contain some paperwork that you are not accustomed to. In December and January, Advance Child Tax Credit letters (Letter 6419) were mailed. And in late January, Economic Impact Payment letters (Letter 6475) were sent. Payments from these programmes must be included in this year’s tax return.

For those in need of assistance, the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programmes provide qualified individuals with free basic tax return preparation. Use the VITA location tool or call 800-906-9887 to find a VITA or TCE site near you.


Michael Hiltzik: Evidence That the Irs Singles Out the Poor for Audits

Capitol Roundup: the Revenue Department Has Extended the Hours of Its Phone Centre to Assist Late Tax Payers.

Boyle: the IRS Has to Be Adequately Funded, and Here’s Why.


Finally, if you are experiencing problems obtaining a refund or dealing with the IRS for tax years 2020 or earlier, please visit, and my office will do everything possible to guarantee you receive the money you are owed.

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