TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – For the past couple of days, dozens and dozens of people have stood outside the Internal Revenue Service office in Tampa, waiting to see a tax agent.
The majority of the people in those long lines were the victims of tax identity theft.
Wanda Rivera of Springhill recieved notice from the IRS that she had to come in and show her ID to clear up a theft problem. She didn’t realize it was going to be an all-day affair.
“Oh honey, I’m prepared. I know I’m gonna be here all day,” Rivera said.
She is not alone. Victoria Perez visited the IRS Wednesday to finish what she started Tuesday. “I was here on Monday and sat here till they closed. I got right here (near the door) and they closed the door and that was it,” Perez said. The IRS released the following statement:
The IRS is aware of the lines at the Tampa taxpayer assistance center, and we regret the inconvenience and frustration taxpayers are facing. We are continuing to assess the situation there. This is one of the busiest periods of the tax season, both in Tampa and across the nation. There are many reasons why demand for services is high this time of year, but there is not a single cause for the lines. Clearly, the identity theft efforts involving the 5071C letters are part of the reason why some of the people are going to the TACS. Hundreds of thousands of these letters are sent each year.”
But people who had to stand in the line said whatever the issue, the agency needs to fix it – fast.
“They better have a better system. I don’t know if it’s short-staffed or what is the problem, but this is ridiculous,” someone in line told News Channel 8.
Here’s more information from the IRS:
The IRS continues to face staffing challenges in Florida and across the nation. The IRS budget has been reduced by about $900 million since 2010, and by the end of this year we will be down by nearly 18,000 employees during this time period. This has affected every aspect of IRS operations, including services for taxpayers.
Because limited resources have impacted some IRS services, the IRS reminds taxpayers that they can get answers to many of their tax questions, tax forms and publications and much more by visiting IRS.gov. Often taxpayers will find that a visit to an IRS office isn’t necessary and may find it more convenient to visit IRS.gov to get the tax help they need.
Taxpayers that believe they need face to face help from the IRS are encouraged to check IRS.gov first to learn about the services that are offered at their specific local offices. Most TACs operate on a first-come, first-served basis. IRS assistors may not be able to help all customers during peak demand periods, particularly those that arrive later in the day. Keep in mind, many questions can be resolved online without waiting in line. On IRS.gov taxpayers can:
- Get official IRS Forms and Publications
- Set up a payment plan
- Get a transcript of a tax return
- Make a payment
- Check on a refund
- Find answers to many tax questions.
Watch the IRS video below to learn how to protect yourself against identity theft:
Watch the IRS video below to learn more about IRS efforts to stop ID theft:
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