According to Fox 28, a newly released Inspector General report says only a fraction of taxpayers requesting help filing with the Internal Revenue Service got it in 2015.
This tax season, 45.6 million taxpayers called the IRS customer assistance lines, however, assistors only answered about 4.2 million calls or 38.5 percent, according to the report.
Last tax season, the Inspector General found nearly 75 percent of calls were answered.
Taxpayers who were able to get through in the 2015 filing period, waited an average of about 25 minutes before speaking with someone.
Budget cuts are blamed for delayed updates, fewer staff and the abilities to answer taxpayers’ questions.
The IRS Commissioner expected that 50 percent of taxpayers calling the IRS during the 2015 filing period would not be able to get through or would have long wait times.
The IRS is now depending more on technology-based services to provide relief. As of early March, the report says nearly 94 percent of refunds were filed electronically.
The IRS reports it identified $172.9 million in fraudulent refunds and prevented issuing $132.8 million. That’s down from last tax season, however, the IRS attributes that to an expanded process aimed at prevention to keep the fraudulent tax returns from entering the system.
The Inspector General plans to issue final results and analysis of the 2015 filing season in September