Taxpayer Advocate Releases 2013 Annual Report on IRS

Taxpayer Advocate Releases 2013 Annual Report on IRS

Just the numbers tell a sad story:

  • 61:  percentage of calls answered – 20 million calls were not answered.  Answered 87% 10 years ago.
  • 20 minutes:  Minimum wait to get someone on the phone, if they do answer.  Ten years ago that wait was 2.6 minutes.
  • 47:  Percent of time IRS responded to taxpayers letters timely.  Think they will let you get away with being late?
  • 8.4 million:  Letters from taxpayers responding to proposed adjustments to their tax liabilities.
  • 53:  Percent of taxpayer letters considered "over age" (pending) before the IRS, which was just 12 percent ten years earlier.
  • 217%:  Increase in backlog of IRS correspondence from last year.
  • 87:  Percent reduction in IRS training budget.
  • 3,000:  Number of IRS employees working on identity theft issues.
  • 575:  Number of pages in training guide for new IRS tax examiners.
  • 6:  Number of paragraphs in the 575 page training guide discussing the rights of taxpayers.
  • Fact:  IRS is required by law to release a levy that it knows is causing an economic hardship due to the financial condition of the taxpayer, even if the taxpayer has unfiled tax returns (Vinatieri v. Comm, 133 TC 392 (2009).
  • 67,000:  Number of taxpayers, presumed in hardship, that IRS levied on Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits anyway.
  • $2.5 Billion:  equaling 47% of all collections on delinquent accounts, came from not human effort but from ACS, the computer program that handles automatic refund offsets.
  • 75%:  The number of levies that were unproductive.  Yes, these are the ones handled by humans.
  • 300:  Percentage of taxpayers responding to an IRS letter as compared to response to a levy.
  • 66%:  Collection rate on delinquent “trust fund” taxes averaging $4.2 billion per year.
  • 60,000:  Applications for exempt status IRS receives each year.
  • 66,000:  IRS inventory backlog of exempt status applications – more than an entire year!
  • 308,868: Number of tax refunds being delayed due to “false positive” software screens for fraudulent return activity in filing season 2013, an increase of 45% over the prior year.
  • 1 year:  Wait time for an IRS determination whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, pursuant to form SS-8 filing.
  • 1,700 to 3,000 transactions per hour:  Increase in Bitcoin usage in the four months August through November 2013.
  • $1.1 billion to $12.6 billion:  Increase in market value of Bitcoins from August through November 2013.
  • 0:  IRS guidance on handling of transactions in digital currency like Bitcoins.
  • Since 2010, IRS budget has been cut by nearly 8% while inflation has risen by about 6%.