On May 23rd, the Tax Foundation hosted a virtual panel discussion on the taxpayer experience in the 2023 tax season, diving into the issues people had with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and filing their taxes.
Even as customer service at the IRS improves, the tax filing process for many taxpayers remains complicated and time-consuming. To help taxpayers get assistance, the IRS has hired 4,000 new customer service agents and plans to hire more with funding from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
However, a closer look at the IRS customer service data indicates that not all taxpayers that had their calls answered necessarily received the help they needed or were able to reach an IRS agent if they wanted to. Further, the IRS’s plan for the additional funding from the IRA indicates that only a small share of the funding will go to taxpayer services, and it will be completely exhausted within four years. Maximizing every dollar spent on taxpayer services would dramatically boost the capability of the IRS to raise revenue and minimize frustration with the tax code.
The National Taxpayer Advocate consistently identifies complexity as the most serious problem for taxpayers—a combination of many faults, including temporary provisions, a lengthy tax code, opaque regulations, and outdated definitions. Two provisions, the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, are the source of frustration for millions of taxpayers with confusing rules and unclear definitions.
Our panel of experts, moderated by Erica York, Senior Economist and Research Manager at the Tax Foundation, discussed the taxpayer experience during the 2023 tax filing season.