IRS Fails Its Test

Michael Sheehan

Physician's Money Digest, October31 2003, Volume 10, Issue 20

A recent US Treasury Departmentinvestigation shows that depending onIRS help center staffers for correctanswers to tax questions is not a goodidea. Investigators posing as taxpayersgot wrong answers, or no answer at all,to 43% of their tax questions. As a result,as many as 500,000 taxpayers may havereceived faulty information. The IRSemployees answered 28% of the questionsincorrectly and, in 12% of the cases,told taxpayers to do their own research inIRS publications. Another 3% of thequestions went unanswered because theinvestigator could not get help at the center.The IRS contested the F grade, maintainingit actually deserved a C because itsstaff members gave out correct responsesto two thirds of the questions that wereactually answered.