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Pascrell Releases Report Highlighting Issues with IRS Customer Service

GAO documents less than 1 in 5 calls answered, other challenges during the 2022 tax filing season, and recommends solutions

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, today released a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) describing the unanswered phone calls and backlog of paperwork at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

“These findings from the GAO confirm much of what we already know: the IRS under the direction of Trump commissioner Charles Rettig did not meet the needs of the American people,” said Chairman Pascrell. “Everyday customer service was a mess, calls for help rang on and on, and backlogs delayed refund checks essential to the finances of countless Americans. I was the first member of Congress to demand Rettig’s ouster. Hardworking IRS employees deserved a better leader. President Biden was right to show Trump appointee Rettig the door and turn the page. The Senate should confirm President Biden’s new commissioner. Healing the IRS must be one of the government’s top priorities.

“This report underscores that Democrats smartly enacting historic funding to fix the IRS. For Americans to have a tax system they trust, we must have more IRS staff to answer the phones, process paperwork, get refund checks out fast, and go after millionaire tax cheats all at the same time. We should not have to choose!

“Let me point out: every single Republican in Congress voted to continue chaos at the IRS. Every single Republican in Congress voted to continue delaying Americans’ refund checks and let millionaires cheat on their taxes. And in their campaigns they promised to revoke the funding necessary to modernize this agency. We will fight them tooth and nail and make sure the American people understand the negative impact Republicans’ promise to gut the IRS will have on their lives.”

TheGAO report expresses concerns with how the IRS was unable to process a backlog of prior year returns alongside incoming returns, unable to provide telephone customer service, unable to address a backlog of taxpayer correspondence, and unable to manage human capital issues.

As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Pascrell has been focused on fixing the IRS. On October 26, 2021, Pascrell demanded answers from Commissioner Rettig on systemic mail delays impacting IRS operations, tax filings, and refunds. Pascrell raised alarms on the slow start to the 2021 tax-filing season, and with Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA-01) castigated the IRS’s continually sending out erroneous notices to taxpayers.

On November 14, 2022, Pascrell and Chairman Neal called on the U.S. Treasury Department Inspector General to expand its probe of Trump’s IRS corruption. The next day, Pascrell called on the U.S. Attorney General to investigate IRS corruption under the Trump regime.

On May 13, 2022, Pascrell became the first member of Congress to demand Rettig’s dismissal. He reiterated those calls on July 7 after the audits of FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director McCabe were brought to light saying: “If you think the audit of Donald Trump’s purported enemies was a random act of God then I have a bridge in North Jersey I’d like to sell you.” On July 8, 2022, Pascrell wrote to President Biden urging him to immediately fire Charles Rettig in the wake of revelations that Comey and McCabe were targeted for audits.

The Inflation Reduction Act passed by the Congress and enacted by the President provides an infusion of $79 billion in funding over ten years to improve taxpayer services including strengthening enforcement against wealthy individual and business tax evaders and systems modernization to bring the IRS into the 21st century.

A copy of the GAO’s report is available here.

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