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Poor IRS Phone Service Among Many Tax Season Hurdles (Podcast)

Jan. 14, 2022, 9:45 AM

Tax preparers are bracing for another frustrating filing season as the IRS warns of unprecedented challenges driven by the pandemic and staffing shortages.

The IRS is facing some major issues ahead of the Jan. 24 launch of tax season. The agency entered the new year with millions of unprocessed paper tax returns and has long struggled to keep up with a deluge of phone calls from people and tax pros looking for assistance.

National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins recently described the agency’s telephone service as “the worst it has ever been.” The IRS only answered about 11% of the 282 million phone calls it received in fiscal 2021—and those who did get through spent more time than ever on hold.

St. Louis-based tax practitioner Jan Roberg is the guest on the latest episode of our weekly Talking Tax podcast. Roberg speaks with Bloomberg Tax reporter Kaustuv Basu about the upcoming tax filing season, offers advice to taxpayers on how to best communicate with the IRS, and shares thoughts on what Congress can do to improve the agency’s customer service.

Listen here.

Have feedback on this episode of Talking Tax? Give us a call and leave a voicemail at 703-341-3690

To contact the reporter on this story: Kaustuv Basu in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Patrick Ambrosio at; Jeff Harrington at