February 17, 2015
Explicitly stated in its mission statement, the purpose of the IRS is to “provide America’s taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities.” But in January, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen announced that filers can expect delayed refunds, fewer audits and limited assistance for the 2015 tax cycle. Rather than live up to its mission, the agency has set up roadblocks and made it more difficult for Americans to perform their civic duty.
From unprecedented hold times on help hotlines to restricted access to filing instructions and forms, I have heard from dozens of you in the Fifth District on how these changes are inhibiting your ability to fulfill your tax filing requirements. Of great concern is the fact that these restrictions disproportionately affect those without the means to file electronically or the resources to use a professional filing service. And when those who are adversely impacted do their due diligence and call for assistance, they cannot even get through to an agency representative for help.
While agency officials have politicized the problem by blaming budget cuts and claiming they are left to “do less with less,” the hardworking Americans who comply with their tax responsibilities each year deserve more than a blame-game. With our national debt surpassing $18 trillion, budget cuts are unpopular but necessary adjustments that challenge agencies to do more with less for the good of the country.
Three weeks ago, I wrote a letter to Commissioner Koskinen demanding answers on what the agency will do to address these problems and eagerly await a response. Additionally, I have met with local taxpayer advocates and contacted libraries in the Fifth District to discuss viable solutions for our constituents. I will continue to insist that the IRS do its job and do right by the American people.