Remember the warning from the Internal Revenue Service that we taxpayers shouldn't expect much help from the agency this filing season? Budget cuts, said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, mean fewer staff to answer phone callers questions.
Well, the same is true for tax professionals.
On Friday, the IRS alerted tax pros that the agency's e-Help Desk hotline is cutting back its hours.
The same budget woes that could, according to the most recent National Taxpayer Advocate report, lead to less than half of individual taxpayer calls being answered, also are being blamed for the end of the e-Help Desk's extended weekday, Saturday and holiday service.
Digital support short shifting: As the tax agency has gone more digital in recent years, the e-Help Desk phone line has become a way for the IRS to assist a wide range of authorized tax professionals -- Enrolled Agents, reporting agents, Electronic Return Originators, Certified Public Accountants, software developers, and transmitters -- with non-account related questions.
The cutbacks to the e-Helf Desk hours take effect just as the 2015 filing season -- and expanded work hours for tax professionals -- are about to begin in full force. Some tax pros no doubt are working this weekend to get ready for the Jan. 20 start of the filing season.
Then they'll be under the gun for the next three months.
But if they need IRS phone support, they better schedule it within the desk's operational hours, which during the peak filing season are:
|Monday thru Friday||6:30 AM to 6:00 PM Central Time|
|Monday, January 19, 2015||Closed|
|Monday, February 16, 2015||Closed|
|Wednesday, April 15, 2015||6:30 AM to 6:00 PM Central Time|
And remember, the e-Help Desk is just for tax professionals, not individual taxpayers, even if we tax amateurs do file electronically using a tax preparer or transmit our 1040s ourselves with tax software.
We individual e-filers still must call the main IRS Help Hotline toll-free at 1 (800) 829-1040 and deal with the wait times there.
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