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TIGTA finds TAC walk-in Saturdays generally were successful

Sometimes, you can find what you need online or by calling someone for help. Other times, especially when it comes to taxes, getting the answer in person is more reassuring. That's what IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers offer, and for the last few years, they've held special no-appointment-needed Saturday openings. The tax agency watchdog looked at how well that's worked. (Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash)

A week ago, the Internal Revenue Service was holding its fourth and final walk-in Saturday at select Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) across the United States and Puerto Rico.

The IRS has more than 360 TACs that provide in-person assistance to taxpayers. TACs don’t help with basic return filing tasks. Instead, the IRS agents there provide face-to-face assistance to taxpayers who cannot resolve through other methods their tax-related matters, such as resolving issues with previously-filed tax returns, identity verification, and accessing relevant IRS resources.

TAC services also are available to taxpayers who prefer get the information and assistance they need in person rather than by telephone or using

Usual ways to get TAC help: To get this TAC help, taxpayers usually must make an appointment — on a weekday, not the weekend — at their local center. That scheduling doesn’t work for everyone.

As part of its efforts to improve customer service, especially as we were coming out of mass COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, the IRS three years ago initiated special walk-in Saturdays.

These special openings gave taxpayers the chance to get specific face-to-face tax help without making a TAC appointment. They also chose to hold the come on down days at a time when most taxpayers probably didn’t have to go to work.

How well was this received? As one CPA noted when I posted about this month’s final 2024 TAC walk-in Saturday, “Most taxpayers have filing questions though. Wonder if walking in has any benefits in expediting open matters?”

TIGTA TAC undercover investigation: The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) had the same question.

So staff from the independent IRS watchdog last filing season (2023) posed as taxpayers and made unannounced visits to 16 TACs to see how walk-in Saturdays were working.

“We received assistance from IRS employees that was accurate and professional,” reports TIGTA. But there were issues. “[We] experienced long wait times at nearly half the locations we visited — sometimes as long as 7 hours.”

Part of that wait time no doubt was due to the enthusiastic reception given the Saturday TAC openings.

TIGTA undercover agents also found, as the agency's graphic below shows, that there appears to be more demand for tax help on the weekend instead of a weekday.


“Most of the locations that offered Saturday service [in fiscal year 2023] assisted more taxpayers during that day than the average number of taxpayers typically seen during a weekday at the same TAC location,” noted the report.

Suggested TAC improvements: The TIGTA report had five suggestions, listed below, on how to make TAC interactions, both via scheduled appointments and on special walk-in days, better.

  1. Allocate unassigned software licenses to Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) working on the TAC Appointment Telephone Line;
  2. Update that appointment line to include a menu option that enables taxpayers to connect with a representative who can confirm, modify, or cancel appointments;
  3. Update triage procedures;
  4. Provide training for Face-to-Face Saturday Help events; and
  5. Require Field Assistance Area offices to communicate and share corrective actions to improve quality.

The IRS agreed with all five TIGTA recommendations and has already started to make some of the changes in the last three areas.

The 32-page report, Taxpayer Assistance Centers Generally Provided Quality Service, but Additional Actions Are Needed to Reduce Taxpayer Burden, elaborates on these TAC areas of needed improvement, as well as on what else it found about IRS efforts to expand face-to-face service.

That’s why the report also earns this weekend’s Saturday Shout Out.

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