Boy talk about being short-staffed and if you have any interaction with the IRS lately, well unfortunately I do, that’s a fact of life for me. Dealing with the IRS has become a bigger challenge than ever, simply based on the fact that you can’t communicate with them and they’re so far behind.
We’re currently seeing an eight month backlog on any amended returns that are being processed or anything that has to be paid for file. Can you imagine if you told them you would respond to them, but it’ll take you eight months to get a response back to them? I don’t think that would fly well.
We’re seeing a lot of erroneous notices also come out of the IRS because they’re so slow at posting other things that have happened. So for example, if you amended a return and they haven’t processed that amendment or responded to it, they’re going to continue to send notices in the interim.
Many times, these are threatening and very nasty little letters that they’re sending and make people very uncomfortable. I understand, and I wish I were something that I could do to help, but honestly, it takes us days, weeks to be able to get in touch with the IRS. I heard a statistic the other day, there are only 2% of calls to the public phone number to the IRS to get questions answered are actually reaching a representative. That’s pitiful, can you imagine a business that operates like that?
Luckily for me, I get to call in on the practitioner priority line. So they put some of the smarter folks over there and their response time is a whopping 3%. I have made calls and I attempt to call at 7:00 AM. That’s about the only time I can get through on the line when they open. And I’ve called 14 times in a row, 12 times in a row, I have to call multiple times in a row, and every time you have to listen to a long string of trumps before he can get to the next step only to find that lovely message that says we’re too busy, call back some other times.
It’s a rough game up there. So if you have issues with the IRS, it’s going to involve a lot of patience. What can you do to speed up the process or circumvent it? Well, there are a couple of things. First off as a CPA, I get power of attorney for all of my clients and use specialized software that allows me to pull transcripts of those years, that we have power of attorney on file. Now that doesn’t often answer questions or resolve problems, but it allows us to dig deeper into the root of the issue so that we have the ability to make a better question when we contact the IRS or can point them in the right direction.
And out of frustration is if you do reach a representative at the IRS, approximately 69% of their calls receive a hangup, they call it a courtesy disconnect. That’s where somehow the line just magically goes dead in the middle of your call.
So we want to try to shorten the length of calls that we have to have with them to get more directly to the point whenever possible, pulling transcripts can help that. Also, if you have a notice, it’s important that we see every page of the notice. Many times there is pertinent information on the other pages that we have to look at. So although it looks like a bunch of gobbledygook, we actually do have to look and reference most all of the pages of the notice.
So not a lot of answers here, but the IRS is under pressure and scrutiny by Congress and the Senate right now to alleviate penalties and relief penalties on things because they’re taking so long and many of the penalties are being caused by the solidness of the IRS. So if you have issues in dealing with the IRS and I hope you don’t, but if you do let me know if there’s anything that we can do to help and get you out of the process to get that taken care of.
I’m Donna Bordeaux from SweetToothCPA.com. Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Make sure you check out our blog and our website from the link below, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and hit the bell to be notified when we post. To contact me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donna Bordeaux, CPA with Sweet Tooth CPA
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