It seems to us the IRS is much more delayed in their communication. They have a lot to handle considering the recently added responsibilities such as the Affordable Care Act, funding cuts, and hiring freezes. This has caused the IRS had to decrease the time and ways taxpayers can communicate with them. This has become a burden for people seeking answers from the IRS. This week, we would like to review the different ways you can communicate with the IRS and what you can expect from each method.
You have always been able to call the IRS with questions about your taxes, general questions, and to negotiate payments. A phone call is still an option. However, you can only ask them about your return status, a letter you received, or set up a payment arrangement. If you have any questions about tax deductions or tax rules and regulations, they will not answer them. This is because the people on the other end are not trained to answer those types of questions. They will simply refer you to www.irs.gov. Additionally, you can expect call waiting times to be anywhere from ½ hour up to 4 hours.
Visit to the Local IRS Office
Walking into an IRS office and asking questions can be a more productive method. The people who work in the offices seem to know more and are willing to help if you take the time to go in and wait. However, they will only talk to you about resolving your tax problem. So if you have a question about tax deductions or tax rules they will also refer you to www.irs.gov. If they can’t solve your problem, they will at least tell you what to do to solve it. Wait times at the office are generally ½ to 1 hour.
Writing the IRS is a good way to communicate. If you choose this method it is a good idea to send your letter registered, so you have proof that they received the letter and what you said. You will also have proof of the response. The down side of writing is that it can take from 6 weeks to several months depending on the type of correspondence. If there are forms to be reviewed or any research to be done it will take months to get a response. Sometimes you will get a letter that says, “Just want you to know we are still working on your problem.” Also, because it takes so long to get a response, you may continue to get bills charging increased penalties and interest while they are trying to solve the problem. And it can also delay any potential refunds.
So as you can tell, communicating with the IRS is not easy at any level. Often times your tax preparer can answer your questions, help you look up information online, and tell you your options. When you have a question or concern we recommend you always call your preparer first.
If you have questions about your taxes, visit us at soulence.com.