The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced it had established a Taxpayer Experience Office and will soon begin taking additional steps to expand the effort. The move comes amid one of the most complicated tax seasons the agency has had in recent years.
“As the IRS continues taking immediate steps this filing season including adding more employees to address the significant challenges facing a resource-constrained IRS, it’s critical that we work going forward to equip the IRS to be a 21st-century resource for Americans,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a press release Friday, March 4. “The formal establishment of this office will help unify and expand efforts across the IRS to improve service to taxpayers.”
A combination of the pandemic, several tax law changes, backlogs and fewer employees prompted the agency to warn customers about potential delays last month.
Some of the areas of improvement in the near term include expanding customer callback, expanded payment options, secure two-way messaging and more services for multilingual customers, the IRS said in the release.
In the longer term, the agency said that the new office identified key activities to focus on, including identifying changing taxpayer expectations and industry trends, focusing on customer service best practices, and promoting a consistent voice and experience across all taxpayer segments by developing agency-wide taxpayer experience guidelines and expectations. The office will be adding staff in the coming months to help support the effort, the IRS said in the release.
“The IRS is committed to customer experiences that meet taxpayers where they are, in the moments that matter most in people’s lives and in a way that delivers the service that the public expects and deserves,” Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer Ken Corbin said in the release.
“Whether checking the status of a tax return, meeting with a revenue agent for an audit, or receiving a tax credit to their bank account, improving service delivery and customer experience are fundamental priorities for us,” Corbin said. “We’re committed to designing and delivering services that better connect with our diverse taxpayer base.”
The 2022 tax filing season started Jan. 24 and more than 160 million individual tax returns for the 2021 tax year are expected to be filed, with most before the April 18 tax deadline, according to the IRS.
Last month, to help alleviate the backlogs, the IRS announced it was shifting 1,200 employees to help it navigate the next several months and hopefully avoid another huge backlog of unprocessed returns, as GOBankingRates previously reported.