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Association for Tax Pros Calls on IRS To Fix Phone Service

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Dec 7, 2022

Tax professionals and taxpayers currently find themselves in “a dire situation” regarding the “nearly non-existent phone service at the IRS,” particularly the agency’s Practitioner Priority Service (PPS), Megan Killian, the executive vice president of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) wrote in a letter to IRS Acting Commissioner Douglas O’Donnell. The association advocates for tax practitioners involved in tax preparation and representation.

Citing multiple complaints from her members, Killian urged O’Donnell to use the IRS's increased funding to fix the service. “The daily complaints and examples we receive from enrolled agents about the problems with the PPS line are numerous,” she wrote.

Despite the IRS’s efforts to improve customer service issues and resolve backlogs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, “the telephone service provided through the PPS lines has significantly deteriorated over the last month to the point that tax practitioners cannot get through no matter how extreme their efforts,” she wrote.

Last month, the IRS moved to improve the efficiency of PPS with a pilot program aimed at allowing practitioners to get through to its professional support line by thwarting third-party vendors that use auto-dialing and robocalling technology to enable their clients to reach the IRS ahead of others through the use of bots.

That effort does not seem to working as well as planned.

Phyllis Jo Kubey, an enrolled agent in New York, told Law360 that, when calling the practitioner line, she is instructed to call back later or the next day. She said she has gotten through using enQ, one such third-party vendor.

“I don't know what metrics the IRS is compiling/analyzing, and it's unclear whether they have successfully thwarted the third-party calling services," she said.

David Miles, an enrolled agent and vice president at 20/20 Tax Resolution in Colorado, told Law360 that feedback he has received on the pilot program is mixed.

“The criticism usually revolves around the frustration with still not getting through because of 'fails' within the pilot system," he said. “People with accents have expressed specific concerns, including those from the South and [people who speak] English as a second language.”

Killian called on the IRS to set a goal with metrics for immediate improvement to the phone system; measure and report on wait and response times and customer service satisfaction on a monthly basis; utilize private-sector expertise to initiate improvements; reassign more staff to answer the PPS phone lines; and pause the auto-dial pilot that has only increased wait times.

“[I]mmediate action must be taken to address this issue and improve customer service,” she wrote. “By implementing these steps, the IRS can be better equipped to aid tax professionals across the country.”

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