March 10, 1993
More Taxpayers Get Help with A Single Call
WASHINGTON - More taxpayers are finding that one call
does it all when phoning the Internal Revenue Service with questions about their tax
accounts. From October throughout the end of February, over 3.3 million taxpayers resolved
their account questions while on the line to the IRS, up from 1.8 million taxpayers from
the same period last year. This represents nearly 82 percent of all accounts questions
during this period.
One reason for the improved customer service is an IRS initiative to provide its
assistors with on-line computer access to various account data, regardless of where the
taxpayer originally filed the return. The system includes more detailed records on tax
returns filed since 1990.
Previously, the IRS assistors could get immediate information only for taxpayers who
filed at one IRS center -- the one connected with the assistor's computer terminal. Other
inquiries faced at least a one-day wait for the assistor to receive the information needed
to help the caller.
To take advantage of this computer enhancement, the IRS has expanded the authority of
its telephone assistors to make changes to account files. Some things -- such as penalty
abatements and address changes -- may be completed by phone. And when paper records are
needed, taxpayers will usually mail items to a local office rather than an IRS center.
For example, if a man who filed in Pennsylvania and later moved to Texas gets a penalty
notice forwarded to him, he can call the IRS in Texas to report his change of address and
find out if he qualifies to have a penalty abated. Or if he needs the amount of mortgage
interest he's deducted for the last two years, it's readily available.
Formerly, the IRS assistor could only put in a request for the account information
during the taxpayer's call. The taxpayer might then wait a couple of weeks to receive a
written reply. Requests for tax return details -- other than income, tax or refund totals
-- usually meant a four-to-six week wait just for the return to be retrieved from storage.
One-stop account service will continue to grow as IRS replaces obsolete computer
terminals under its Tax Systems Modernization program. This will give local IRS offices
offering walk-in help the same capability as the toll-free telephone sites to use the
As of March 5, the IRS had received 43.3 million returns and sent out 21.5 million
refunds, worth $22.34 billion. At $1,040, the average refund is up two percent over this
time last year.
1993 FILING SEASON STATISTICS
Cumulative through the week ending 3/6/92 and 3/5/93
1992 1993 % Change
Individual Income Tax Returns
Total Receipts 47,100,000 43,275,000 -8.1
Total Processed 33,811,000 30,707,000 -9.2
Filing Alternatives -- Total Receipts :
Electronic Filing 8,756,000 9,820,000 12.2
1040PC Format 544,000 1,578,000 190.0
TeleFile 108,000 124,000 14.8
Refunds Certified by the Martinsburg Computing Center:
Number 23,075,000 21,486,000 -6.9
Amount of principal $23.534 bil. $22.352 bil. -5.0
Average Refund $1,020 $1,040 2.0
(NOTE: these amounts should NOT be compared to the
"processed" numbers above, since those
figures reflect Service Center processing, which is
completed at least a week before refunds are
certified at the Computing Center.
Taxpayer Service Filing Season Statistics
through 3/7/92 through 3/6/93
Calls answered 9,826,671 9,673,510
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