IRS E-Help Desk In Need Of Help

The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has recently issued a 40-page report indicating that the IRS’s e-help desk, launched in 2002, has several problems that need to be addressed.

The e-help desk is a telephone call-in service provided by the IRS for taxpayers who have questions about electronic tax filing services offered by the IRS. These services include electronically filed tax returns, and payments made under the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). Electronic filing services are only available to tax practitioners. Electronic payment services under the EFTPS are available to all taxpayers.

The e-help desks are staffed by real people, employees of the IRS, with hours of operation from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. central time, Monday through Friday, and 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday. There are four e-help desk located around the country at IRS offices in Andover, Massachusetts; Cincinnati, Ohio; Austin, Texas; and Ogden, Utah.

According to the TIGTA report, the IRS e-help desks show weaknesses in these areas:

  • Monitoring customer satisfaction
  • Evaluating accuracy of responses provided by the e-help desk
  • Documentation of answers provided to taxpayers
  • Accuracy of standard answers that are provided for commonly asked questions
  • Ensuring that e-help desk employees receive proper training

The IRS has indicated it agrees with all of the TIGTA’s findings and is taking corrective measures to address the problem areas. In particular, the IRS plans to institute customer satisfaction surveys and a focus group for the 2007 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums, implement contact recording of e-help desk sessions, produce documentation of solutions provided by the e-help desk, implement an approval process for solutions, establish and monitor processes to ensure that administrative information relating to e-help desk cases is accurate and complete, and establish a plan to monitor the training plans of e-help desk employees.

You may like these other stories...

The IRS requires most freelancers and other self-employed individuals to use the cash method of accounting, under which income isn't counted until cash, a check, or an e-payment is received, and expenses aren't...
Ernst & Young 2013 audit deficiency rate 49%, regulators sayMichael Rapoport of the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) found deficiencies in 28 of the...
Some of your clients may get away to business conventions from time to time. It gives them a chance to rub shoulders with colleagues, catch up on the latest developments, and fine-tune their skills. And, when the meetings or...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Sep 9
In this session we'll discuss the types of technologies and their uses in a small accounting firm office.
Sep 10
Transfer your knowledge and experience to prepare your team for the challenges and opportunities of an accounting career.
Sep 11
This webcast will include discussions of commonly-applicable Clarified Auditing Standards for audits of non-public, non-governmental entities.
Sep 24
In this jam-packed presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA will give you a crash-course in creating spreadsheet-based dashboards. A dashboard condenses large amounts of data into a compact space, yet enables the end user to easily drill down into details when warranted.