Watchdog calls for more IRS funding as agency implements tax law

Watchdog calls for more IRS funding as agency implements tax law

Almost 155 million individual tax returns are expected to be filed in 2018.

The dismal call-response rate - and other challenges the IRS faces in trying to clear up confusion and administer the new tax law - is due in part to funding cuts that have essentially shrunk the IRS budget by 20% since 2010.

Although the IRS will begin accepting both electronic and paper tax returns January 29, paper returns will begin processing later in mid-February as system updates continue.

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that the nation's tax season will begin Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 and reminded taxpayers claiming certain credits that refunds won't be available before late February.

Olson couldn't be more stark in her recommendation to lawmakers: "The IRS absolutely needs more funding".

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Prior to leaving the agency, former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen warned that years of cuts to the agency's budget will make it hard for the IRS to carry out its mission. "But with more funding, strong leadership, and a closer working relationship with Congress, I am convinced the IRS can do the job well".

Amid the frantic push by Republicans to pass a tax overhaul by Christmas, it's easy to forget that you still have to contend with your 2017 taxes, which are governed by the old rules.

Democrats this week also expressed concern that the new IRS withholding guidelines could be subject to political interference. The IRS will have a lot of issues to work through, and taxpayers will have a lot of questions.

Olson submitted her annual report to Congress on Wednesday, which highlights the most serious problems facing taxpayers. The Purple Book also recommends ways to strengthen taxpayer rights and the tax-filing process, improve IRS assessment and collection procedures, reform the tax code's penalty and interest provisions, strengthen taxpayer rights before the Office of Appeals, enhance confidentiality and disclosure protections, and strengthen the independence of the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate.

According to officials, those hoping for speedy returns are encouraged to file electronically through Louisiana File Online, the state's free web portal.

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