Don’t Count on the IRS to Answer Your Tax Questions

Posted on Mar 16, 2014

It is federal taxpayers who keep the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) open and who pay their workers’ salaries. As a taxpayer, you pay to keep the IRS operating. However, you may not be able to telephone, mail, or email the IRS with tax questions and get your questions answered in a timely manner.

The Statistics

According to a recent article in the Boston Globe, the IRS is so short staffed that it:

  • Fails to answer nearly 40 percent of the phone calls it receives. Last year, more than 109 million phone calls were reportedly made to the IRS. Approximately 61 percent of those phone calls were answered by a live person. The remaining 39 percent of callers got a recording or were disconnected.
  • Has failed, millions of times, to meet its own 45-day deadline for responding to taxpayer letters. Approximately 8.4 million letters requiring a 45-day response were received by the agency last year and it has been reported that only 53 percent were answered within that timeline.


It is also estimated that the IRS has lost about 9 percent of its workforce, or about 10,000 employees, over the past few years.

How to Get the Answers You Need

You are responsible for filing your taxes accurately and on time, and for responding to IRS requests, regardless of whether your phone call or letter is answered by the agency. You may be able to get your questions answered by browsing the IRS website or by using the free videos and articles on our website. In addition, you may also wish to read our FREE book, The Ultimate Survival Guide for IRS Problems.

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