IRS Correspondence With Taxpayers and Its Telephone Assistance Program

T-GGD-88-47: Published: Jul 13, 1988. Publicly Released: Jul 13, 1988.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO reviewed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) correspondence with taxpayers and its Telephone Assistance Program. In its review of IRS correspondence, GAO found that: (1) about half of the sampled letters that IRS sent to taxpayers were incorrect, incomplete, unresponsive, or unclear; and (2) IRS personnel often did not comply with procedures designed to enhance taxpayer relations. GAO believes that IRS should: (1) improve its training, supervision, and quality assurance; (2) revise the computerized service center system to allow employees to view their finished letters; and (3) determine whether it should revise performance standards and whether it should enhance employees' opportunities for advancement. In its review of the Telephone Assistance Program, GAO found that IRS assisters: (1) gave incorrect responses 36 percent of the time; and (2) had the most difficulty with questions that required probing and that related to recent tax law changes. GAO noted that IRS could improve telephone response accuracy through better training, improved working conditions, better reference materials, and lower employee turnover. GAO also found that IRS was aware of the problems and was undertaking several projects to address them.

Jan 14, 2021

Nov 18, 2020

Nov 9, 2020

Oct 19, 2020

Sep 23, 2020

Aug 31, 2020

Jun 29, 2020

Jun 16, 2020

May 1, 2020

Apr 30, 2020

  • tax icon, source: Eyewire

    Priority Open Recommendations:

    Internal Revenue Service
    GAO-20-548PR: Published: Apr 23, 2020. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 2020.

Looking for more? Browse all our products here