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Calling the IRS? Hold times are way down this tax season

WASHINGTON (AP) — Taxpayers who called the IRS had an average wait time of four minutes this tax season compared to 27 minutes a year earlier, the agency said Monday.

Ahead of the tax filing deadline on Tuesday, the IRS is promoting its improved customer service and giving credit to a big boost in funding provided by the Inflation Reduction Act that Democrats pushed through Congress last year.

The federal tax collector on Monday reported a dramatic turnaround for the 2023 tax season from a year ago, when the agency scored its worst customer service marks on record.

IRS employees this tax season have answered 2 million more calls, and served 100,000 more taxpayers in-person, it reported. The agency also digitized 80 times more paper forms than in 2022 and cleared the backlog of unprocessed 2022 individual tax returns.

New IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, sworn in earlier this month, promised that to use the new $80 billion infusion of cash over the next 10 years to help the federal tax collector become faster, more tech-savvy and provide “real-world improvements” to taxpayers.

“We’re trying to improve services dramatically,” said Wally Adeyemo, Treasury’s deputy secretary at an Urban Institute event on Monday.

At the same event, former IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti was more critical of the IRS spending plan. “There’s an under allocation for technology,” he said. “They need to spend a lot more time on a compliance strategy.”

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