The Most Serious IRS Problems Facing Taxpayers

National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) Nina E. Olson’s 2018 Annual Report to Congress identifies the most serious problems taxpayers face in their dealings with the IRS. The report includes an illustrated "Taxpayer’s Journey” tracking interactions with the tax system from start to finish. Most Serious Problem #3, Navigating the IRS, includes step-by-step graphics of a simulated taxpayer phone call to the IRS.
Ms. Olsen notes that the shutdown’s effect on levels of service and wait times “translate into real harm to real taxpayers.” By January 24, the IRS had more than five million pieces of mail waiting to be processed, 80,000 responses to fiscal year 2018 EITC audits that had not been addressed, and 87,000 amended returns waiting to be manually processed.
The report calls replacing the IRS’ antiquated technology systems “the agency’s #1 need … if those systems aren’t replaced, the gap between what the IRS should be able to do and what the IRS is actually able to do will continue to increase in ways that don’t garner headlines but increasingly harm taxpayers and impair revenue collection.”