The Internal Revenue Service is urging taxpayers to resist the urge to call the agency for answers to tax questions as it anticipates an avalanche of phone calls next week and is instead asking them to go online for help.
The IRS reminded taxpayers Thursday that the Presidents Day holiday period typically marks one of the busiest weeks of the tax-filing season for its phone lines. It noted that there are other alternatives to help taxpayers find answers to commonly asked tax questions.
The IRS opened tax season on January 31 after a two-week delay prompted by the government shutdown last October (see IRS Kicks off Tax Season for Individual Returns). However, it has been struggling with a series of budget cuts in recent years that have delayed response times to phone calls and other matters.
On Tuesday, the IRS’s new commissioner, John Koskinen, released a video on YouTube, in which he also requested taxpayers to use the agency’s Web site and other self-help tools, and warned about long wait times on the phone (see New IRS Commissioner Releases YouTube Tax Season Video).
The IRS reiterated Thursday that it has several easy-to-use, online tools on IRS.gov. Taxpayers can check the status of their refund, request a copy of their tax transcript or get an answer to their tax questions around the clock.
“The entire week of the Presidents Day holiday marks a peak time in the number of calls to the IRS, and we encourage taxpayers to visit IRS.gov as the best place to get quick help,” said Koskinen said in a statement Thursday.
Due to limited resources, the IRS noted that it has changed the services provided at the toll-free telephone number and IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers. To save time and find answers faster, taxpayers should make IRS.gov their first stop, starting with 1040 Central for a quick overview. The IRS Services Guide also provides a list of resources.