Thanks for Thanksgiving movies and some movie tax breaks
December to-do list: shopping, family visits and tax tasks

IRS' positive public perception picking up a bit

The Internal Revenue Service's problems are far from over.

IRS buildingThe Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is poring over some recently recovered emails to/from Lois Lerner that could (or could not) shed light on the agency's bungled 501(c)(4) nonprofit application review process.

Regardless of TIGTA's findings, you can bet Republicans, who will control both the House and Senate in the incoming 114th Congress, will use their combined majorities to keep the pressure on the IRS.

And with the tax extenders bill stalled, it's looking more likely that the 2015 tax filing season will be delayed. That's terrible news for not only the IRS, but taxpayers who are planning on getting their tax refunds ASAP next year.

Poll numbers up: Still, the federal tax agency recently received a tiny bit of good news. A Gallup poll found that folks are feeling a bit better about the beleaguered IRS.

When attention on the tax-exempt Tea Party targeting scandal was at its height in 2013, only 27 percent of those polled by Gallup thought the IRS was doing a good job.

However, when that job performance question was asked again just a couple of weeks ago, Gallup pollsters found the IRS' job rating had rebounded to 41 percent. That's slightly ahead of the approval rating of 40 percent that the IRS had before it came under such scrutiny.

Gallup federal agency job rating poll November 2014
Click table to see full Gallup poll results in a PDF document.

Granted, 41 percent is not a good rating by any measure. And the IRS is third from last in overall federal agency performance perceptions.

Uncle Sam's tax collectors beat out the Federal Reserve Board, which received excellent or good performance marks from 38 percent of those polled, and the Veterans Administration, which got the highest rating from only 29 percent of those polled.

FYI, the U.S. Postal Service tops the list with a 72 percent excellent or good ranking.

So the IRS has a lot of work to do to get back in the public's good graces.

But its improvement of 14 percentage points is notable. It was the biggest jump up of any agency from May 2013 to this November.

That's good enough to make 14 percent this week's By the Numbers honoree.

And it was probably good enough to make Thanksgiving a little more enjoyable for IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and his staff.

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