Increased budget, more staff leading to improved tax hotline response rates, Treasury Secretary says

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The deadline for filing taxes is less than a month away.


After two tax seasons filled with delays, last minute changes and backlogs, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the IRS is better prepared this year.

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“We have answered hundreds of thousands more phone calls during this filing season,” Yellen said.

She says the IRS Tax Hotline response rate is around 85-percent this filing season. That’s compared to just 13-percent last year.

Treasury officials say the IRS hired 5,000 more staff members to help improve customer service.

Democrats in Washington say the results validate their efforts to increase the agency’s budget last year.

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“It’s not perfect, but it’s one heck of a lot better than it was,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) said. “And we’re just getting started.”

Through the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS will receive $80-billion over the next decade, but many Republicans want to cut that new funding in the upcoming budget.

“We must stop trying to solve this problem by massive new spending and massive new taxes,” Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) said. “So we have some disagreements about how to deal with this.”

If lawmakers cut these recent investments, Secretary Yellen says taxpayers will ultimately pay the price.

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“Phones would go unanswered. Wait times would grow. Mail would be processed more slowly. Refunds would be delayed,” Yellen warned.

The IRS says taxpayers who have already filed should receive their refund within a few weeks, but it can take longer.

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