TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION
THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE PROVIDES HELPFUL TAX LAW ASSISTANCE BUT STILL HAS PROBLEMS WITH TAX RETURN PREPARATION ASSISTANCE
Issued on August 24, 2007
Highlights of Report Number: †2007-40-164 to the Internal Revenue Service Commissioner for the Wage and Investment Division.
IMPACT ON TAXPAYERS
who seek Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assistance with tax law questions or
tax return preparation have various options, including
WHY TIGTA DID THE AUDIT
This audit was initiated to determine the quality of customer service the IRS provides taxpayers who seek assistance when preparing their tax returns.† Providing quality customer service to taxpayers is the IRSí first step toward achieving taxpayer compliance.† During Tax Year 2005, approximately 49 million taxpayers prepared their own tax returns without the assistance of a paid preparer.† The IRS estimated that approximately 55 percent of these taxpayers contacted the IRS for assistance in the past 2 years.
WHAT TIGTA FOUND
Although the IRS
provides helpful tax law assistance, it still has problems with tax return preparation
assistance.† The overall experiences of
auditors who posed as taxpayers to obtain answers to tax law questions were
For tax preparation services, auditors were not always able
to obtain correctly prepared tax returns when using
Although auditors found the Free-File Program software easy to use, the software did not always provide much assistance in understanding tax law and did not always ask appropriate interview questions.† Additionally, taxpayers may need to visit Taxpayer Assistance Centers multiple times before they receive appointments to have returns prepared.
WHAT TIGTA RECOMMENDED
TIGTA recommended the Commissioner, Wage and Investment Division, include on IRS.gov the types of questions Taxpayer Assistance Center assistors are authorized to answer, ensure taxpayers know the scope of tax return preparation services offered at Taxpayer Assistance Centers and what is required of them to schedule appointments and/or to have tax returns prepared, and revise the appointment scheduling procedures to alleviate taxpayer burden.
their response to the report, IRS officials agreed with the recommendations.† Management plans to include on IRS.gov a list
of in-scope topics
READ THE FULL REPORT
To view the report, including the scope, methodology, and full IRS response, go to:
Email Address:†† Bonnie.Heald@tigta.treas.gov
Phone Number:†† 202-927-7037
Web Site:†† http://www.tigta.gov