Now that 2015 has arrived, it’s time for all Americans to start thinking about their federal tax returns. The Internal Revenue Service expects to begin accepting returns later this month. When it does, some experts are predicting that this could be the most “miserable” tax season since the mid 1980s.
The reasons for this are fairly easy to see. In short, the IRS is being asked to do more work and more complicated work with a smaller budget and staff. We’ll discuss some of the details in today’s post.
According to CNN Money, the IRS’ budget this year will be about 10 percent less than it was in 2010. But due to inflation and other cost increases, the cuts felt will be more than 10 percent.
The IRS is also facing a shrinking staff and less money for staff training. Since 2010, the IRS staff has decreased by about 8 percent and has seen an 85 percent reduction in funds allocated for staff training. These cuts are in spite of an increasingly complex tax code and in spite of the fact that the number of taxpayers has increased by about 7 million people over the past five years.
What does this all mean for average American taxpayers? It’s possible that these constraints will result in delayed refunds and more opportunities for mistakes. It will almost certainly mean that Americans will have a harder time contacting actual people who work at the IRS with tax questions. Hold times on phone calls will be an estimated 34 minutes, on average.
For these and other reasons, you may want to consider hiring a tax professional to help you prepare your return as well as an experienced tax attorney if you run into more complicated tax issues.
Source: CNN Money, “‘Miserable’ tax season could be worst in years,” Jeanne Sahadi, Jan. 5, 2015