IRS Overwhelmed by Customer Calls

If you've been trying to call the IRS to get an Employer Identification Number over the past month, chances are you have been somewhat frustrated with the inability to reach anyone.

Similar requests, such as responding to deadlines for Subschapter S elections, have met with a similar inability to get through, the Washington Post reported this week.

According to IRS spokesperson Tim Harms, three factors have led to the backlog, which the IRS is hoping to get ahead of over the next week or so:

  1. The old system was shut down last month to do some year-end processing
  2. A new single national phone number was implemented on January 1 which was quickly overwhelmed with the volume of calls, and
  3. Taxpayers calling to follow up on fax requests added to the volume of the backlog.

"We've redirected personnel to make sure calls are answered timely," and "there should be significant improvement by January 18," Harms said, adding that the agency is also tackling that backlog. But "it will probably take us about three weeks to catch up," he said.

The IRS asks that those without immediate needs should hold off on calling the service until they can catch up on the backlog.

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