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IRS Highlights Improved Taxpayer Service

The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight held a hearing on May 18, 2022 to discuss ways for the IRS to improve the taxpayer experience. IRS Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer Kenneth Corbin stated, "I am a firm believer that taxpayer service remains the most significant IRS priority. The IRS has implemented many new and innovative strategies in an effort to improve our overall level of service and meet the challenges we face today, especially those posed by the pandemic, but we want to do more and will continue our efforts to improve both in the short and long-term."

Corbin acknowledged that the 2022 tax filing season was "complex and challenging" for taxpayers and their professional advisors. However, he emphasizes that there are many steps that have been taken to improve the taxpayer experience.
  1. EIP/CTC Letters — The IRS sent out 250 million letters to help individuals claim the Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC) and the Child Tax Credit. Some individuals did not receive their third Economic Impact Payment letter and needed to know the amounts of their 2021 Advance Child Tax Credit payments in order to file their tax returns.
  2. Customer Callback Feature — The IRS implemented a plan to allow taxpayers to call and, rather than waiting on hold, request a callback from the Service. The offer was made to 5.3 million taxpayers who called in and over 57% accepted the callback option. Taxpayers have saved more than 1.7 million hours by not remaining on hold.
  3. Voice Bots and Chat Bots — The IRS has implemented voice and chat bots in both English and Spanish. This online assistance enables one IRS staff person to assist many different taxpayers at one time. These voice and chat bots are especially helpful for taxpayers who have a simple payment issue or have received a collection notice and wish to get information quickly.
  4. Saturday Service at Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) — TACs enable many taxpayers to receive in–person assistance. By expanding the Saturday hours of the TACs, the IRS was able to assist individuals who are working during the week.
  5. Online Service Tools — Over 10 million taxpayers have created an individual online account. The IRS plans to continue expanding services with online accounts. Taxpayers with online IRS accounts will be able to authorize their tax preparers to represent them before the IRS and also may enable them to view tax returns with a Tax Information Authorization.
  6. Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Assistant — The EITC Assistant tool on IRS.gov helps individuals understand their eligibility for the EITC. It also reduces the number of improper claims for EITC.
Corban stated, "We view the taxpayer experience as a cornerstone of the IRS mission and our implementation of the Taxpayer Experience Strategy will ensure the IRS meets the needs of all types of taxpayers and stakeholders who rely on the IRS for information and services."

Editor's Note: Congress has concerns regarding a large number of taxpayers reporting attempts to call the IRS for support and not receiving the desired assistance. The IRS continues to make efforts to provide improved service, particularly through chatbots and other electronic methods.

Published May 20, 2022
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