downloadIRS hung up on taxpayers 8.8 million times this year

 The IRS automatically hung up on Americans with questions about their taxes 8.8 million times during the 2015 filing season, the agency’s National Taxpayer Advocate tells Congress.

That’s more than a 1,500 percent increase from 2014, the report states, when taxpayers were hung up on 554,000 times.

Unlike customers of a private business, Americans do not have the option of paying their taxes to a friendlier country.

The IRS calls it a “courtesy disconnect,” when the system is overloaded and automatically ends calls.

Taxpayers who were informed by the IRS they were identity fraud victims fared even worse.  Told by the IRS to call, the IRS answered the phone only 17 percent of the time.

The report unveils:

The IRS answered only 37 percent of taxpayer calls routed to customer service representatives overall, and the hold time for taxpayers who got through averaged 23 minutes.  This level of service represents a sharp drop-off from the 2014 filing season, when the IRS answered 71 percent of its calls and hold times averaged about 14 minutes.

The IRS answered only 39 percent of calls from taxpayers seeking assistance from TAS on the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) Toll-Free hotline, and hold times averaged 19 minutes.  TAS serves as the IRS’s “safety net” for taxpayers who are experiencing a financial or systemic hardship as a result of IRS action or inaction.

The IRS answered only 17 percent of calls from tax payers who called after being notified that their tax returns had been blocked by the Taxpayer Protection Program (TPP) on suspicion of identity theft, and the hold times averaged about 28 minutes.  In three consecutive weeks during the filing season, the IRS answered fewer than 10 percent of these calls.

The IRS answered only 45 percent of calls from practitioners who called the IRS on the Practitioner Priority Service line, and hold times averaged 45 minutes.

The report comes on the heels of emails uncovered by Judicial Watch that reveal that in the final weeks of the 2010 election, when it appeared Democrats were heading to a disastrous defeat, Obama IRS official Lois Lerner “strategized” with the FBI and the Justice Department to round up and arrest political groups critical of Obama.

The memos show how Obama officials plotted “several possible theories to bring criminal charges under FEC law” against groups they accused of “posing” as tax exempt.

In order to begin potentially arresting Obama’s critics, IRS official illegally slipped confidential taxpayer information to Obama FBI officials.

“This revelation likely means that the IRS—including possibly Lois Lerner—violated federal tax law by transmitting this information to the Justice Department,” wrote Congressman Darrell Issa.