The IRS is unable to answer most taxpayers’ calls this year because it’s had to put money into getting up and running for Obamacare, agency Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress on Wednesday.
Mr. Koskinen said his agency has had to shift tens of millions of dollars from customer service over to build the computer systems and get ready to handle questions this year about Obamacare and the law’s tax penalty, which kicks in for the first time this year.
The commissioner said President Obama’s 2010 law requires the agency to handle Obamacare taxes, but Congress has refused to provide any money, so he’s shifted user fees that used to go to customer service over to handle the Affordable Care Act and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
“We knew, and it’s been true, that we would get a significant number of inquiries on the Affordable Care Act,” Mr. Koskinen told the House Appropriations Committee, which is considering how much money to give the tax agency for fiscal 2016.
Mr. Koskinen said the IRS is answering just 43 percent of taxpayers’ calls so far this year, which is a huge drop is customer service for the agency.
Congress has cut the IRS’s funding in recent years as Republicans have tried to send a signal of disapproval with the agency’s activities, including its targeting of tea party groups’ applications for nonprofit status.
On Wednesday, Rep. Anders Crenshaw, the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the IRS, said the agency acts as though it is “entitled to $13 billion” in funding, but in reality the IRS must prove it has earned that level of funding.
“We deliberately lowered the IRS funding to a level that will make the IRS think twice about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it,” the chairman said.
Modified from a washingtontimes.com article