Back in December of 2014, Congress passed a spending bill that will fund the government through September of 2015. That’s good, right? No government shut-down. However, this spending bill includes yet another funding haircut for the IRS, which is probably going to make your life a little worse this tax season. This “haircut” means roughly $350 million in spending cuts.So, how might that affect you this tax season? Well, for one thing, your odds of getting through to the IRS Help Line while you’re still in your youth have gone from slim to none, now that IRS funding has been reduced to 3 percent less than last year and $1.5 billion below the president’s requested amount. National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson was predicting before the cuts that 2015 would bring us the “worst filing season” in years. No crystal ball is needed to see that administering more than 40 new provisions under the Affordable Care Act for the first time this year is going to call for more IRS staff standing by to answer questions, not fewer.
In December, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told reporters that, in the last four years, the IRS budget has been cut by approximately $1.2 billion, and its staff reduced by about 13,000. IRS’s $11.3 billion budget for 2014 was 7 percent below the level appropriated in 2010. On top of frustrating taxpayers in need of answers, Koskinen predicts that the reductions in staff will result in nearly $2 billion in uncollected revenue this year.
If the idea of hanging on hold with the IRS for hours isn’t appealing to you, this may be the year for you to join the nearly 60 percent of U.S. taxpayers who hire a paid preparer. Licensed preparers know the intricate and constantly changing tax laws, regulations and codes, and how they can be applied for your benefit to save you money.
Enrolled agents, America’s tax experts, are required to complete IRS-approved annual continuing education, ensuring that they have the most up-to-date strategies to make sure you pay only what you owe and get any refunds you are due. Enrolled agents not only specialize in tax preparation and tax planning, they can also represent you before the IRS.
Find an enrolled agent in your area on the “Find an EA” directory at www.naea.org.