IRS Correspondence With Taxpayers and Its Telephone Assistance Program

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

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

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 30, 2018

Dec 20, 2017

Dec 18, 2017

Nov 30, 2017

Nov 28, 2017

Sep 6, 2017

May 18, 2017

May 17, 2017

Apr 27, 2017

Apr 26, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here