Via The Washington Times:
The IRS “deliberately” cut its customer service this year, making the tax season more painful than it had to be for millions of taxpayers, House Republicans concluded in a new report Wednesday that accused the agency of wasting money on pet projects while hanging up on millions of callers.
Wait times spiked to an average of 34.4 minutes before callers got through, and less than half of all callers ever got that far in the first place, with most calls being rejected by an overloaded system, the House Ways and Means GOP staff said in the new report.
The IRS cut its funding for customer service even as it continued to spend money in areas GOP lawmakers said were questionable at best — including millions of dollars on performance awards paid to most employees.
“Fiscal year 2014 bonus money could have been used to answer 7.2 million additional phone calls,” said Rep. Peter Roskam, Illinois Republican and chairman of the Ways and Means oversight committee.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen bristled at the charges, saying he’s been forced to make the cuts because Congress has reduced his agency’s budget, even as the number of filings has gone up, and as the agency is taking on ever more duties, such as policing Obamacare’s individual mandate.
But he denied that his agency had singled out taxpayers’ customer service for special reductions.