Yesterday the IRS released a YouTube video from John Koskinen, the new commissioner, assuring taxpayers the IRS is dedicated to assisting taxpayers this filing season, and advising taxpayers the best methods to seek tax assistance. The commissioner encouraged use of resources available on IRS.gov and also the videos available on the IRS channel on YouTube. The commissioner also cautioned that given "limited resources," phone lines will likely be "extremely busy" and will often have "extensive wait times." The commissioner even went so far as advising the use of tax preparation software and/or consulting tax professionals.
Most tax practitioners are likely already aware of an IRS change earlier this month limiting phone assistance and instead using "automated resources." The IRS release mentioned "shifting taxpayer demands" relating to the 2014 filing season, which seems to have been a subtle way of stating resources have been pulled from the typical phone assistance we are used to receiving. Certain options on the automated menu that previously would transfer a caller to an IRS employee now gives an automated response directing the caller to a portion of the IRS website for more information.
It seems the already long wait times may be getting longer.