IRS News Release  
March 03, 1998

Better Customer Service
on IRS Phone Lines

WASHINGTON - More hours on Internal Revenue Service telephone lines have meant fewer busy signals and quicker access for callers. The IRS nearly doubled its hours of service this year, from 50 to 96 hours a week. Lines for both live assistance and forms orders are open from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

"Our goal is to provide taxpayers consistently first-rate service," IRS Commissioner Charles 0. Rossotti said. "Our longer hours for this season are a step in this direction."

As of Feb. 21, over 14 million callers had reached the IRS assistance and forms lines this filing season, about 100,000 more than the same period last year. But callers encountered nearly 7 million fewer busy signals.

Calls to TeleTax -- the automated refund and tax information service -- were up more than 2.5 million, to 14.8 million calls answered. Refund information is generally available for touch-tone callers from 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. weekdays. Recorded tax topics are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The number for live assistance is 1-800-829-1040;
for IRS forms or publications: 1-800- TAX-FORM (1 -800-829-3676);
for TeleTax: 1-800-829-4477.

Cumulative through the week ending 2/28/97 and 2/27/98
                            1997        1998    % Change
Individual Income Tax Returns
    Total Receipts       39,050,000  38,761,000  -0.7
    Total Processed      24,488,000  26,950,000  10.1
E-filing -- Total Receipts:
    Standard E-file      10,117,000  12,184,000  20.4
    TeleFile              3,282,000   4,102,000  25.0
Refunds Certified by the Martinsburg Computing Center:
    Number               22,486,000  24,614,000   9.5
    Amount of principal  $32.979 b.  $36.836 b.  11.7
    Average refund         $1467       $1497      2.0

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