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IRS cut its own customer service budget

You may remember an article we posted on April 1, reporting that the IRS has been ignoring 60 percent of taxpayer calls.

According to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, the reason for such poor service was external: congressional budget cuts. We've since discovered that's not the case. The Weekly Standard reports:

If you tried to contact the IRS with a question about your taxes this year, chances are you didn't get a response. The IRS estimated that it would only answer 17 million of the 49 million calls received this filing season. Taxpayers lucky enough to have the IRS answer their calls waited an average of 34.4 minutes for assistance--nearly double the wait time last year (18.7 minutes).

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has blamed the IRS's "abysmal" customer service on congressional budget cuts--funding is down $1.2 billion from its 2010 peak--but a new congressional report points the finger back at the IRS. While congressional funding for the IRS remained flat from 2014 to 2015, the IRS diverted $134 million away from customer service to other activities.

In addition to the $11 billion appropriated by Congress, the IRS takes in more than $400 million in user fees and may allocate that money as it sees fit. In 2014, the IRS allocated $183 million in user fees to its customer service budget, but allocated just $49 million in 2015--a 76 percent cut.

So, not only is this federal agency deliberately ignoring taxpayer calls, they're lying about the cause of their abysmal customer service.

Such tactics are unacceptable, especially from an agency that wields so much power over everyday Americans. It's time to remind them who they work for. It's time for a Convention of States.

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