Filing season opens Jan. 19, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Thursday, adding that taxpayers will have a better customer service experience this season with an additional 1,000 representatives on hand to ease waiting times on information lines.
The $290 million approved by Congress last month to beef up taxpayer services will help with issues like hang-ups, which was a major problem last year — fewer than half of all calls were connected to a staff person. There’s also help available online, Koskinen notes.
“Using our website, IRS.gov, remains the best and quickest way for people to get information,” he said.
The reason the deadline has been pushed three days later than usual is that April 15 is Emancipation Day, which is a public holiday in Washington, D.C. If you live in Maine or Massachusetts, you’ll have an additional day because of Patriot’s Day.
Again, be wary of the myriad tax scams that pop up every year around this time, Koskinen warned. The IRS will never call taxpayers to obtain personal or financial information. It issues letters when it needs something.
“The IRS will not make angry calls to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed out a bill,” Koskinen told reporters, via the Associated Press. “We won’t ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone. We also will never threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have someone arrested for not paying.”