Getting ready to file your taxes? Here are some changes this tax season

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The tax season is in full swing and as tax laws can often be confusing, the IRS is pledging to better serve the public.

“I want people to know that the IRS is on the side of taxpayers, and we are working to reflect that in every aspect of our operations while administering the nation’s tax law,” IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel said before a House committee on Thursday.

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One of the big concerns lawmakers asked about is the long wait times for some taxpayers trying to call the agency with questions.

“Where’s your sense of, we’re going to get to the point where we can answer the phone quicker and try to get them a little bit more help?” asked Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL).

“On our main phone line, which is where most of the volume comes, we’re at an 85 percent level of service but there’s more to do,” said Werfel. “I don’t ever want to hear about someone waiting on the phone for an hour. That is heartbreaking, frustrating but it’s also a rallying call for us.”

That’s why Werfel said the IRS now allows taxpayers to schedule a callback if the wait time is longer than 15 minutes.

Werfel’s testimony says the IRS will also use conversational voice bot technology for the first time to help taxpayers get answers about the status of their refund.

Another concern addressed by lawmakers: the new rule for people who are paid through payment apps or online marketplaces.

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Congress passed a Democrat-backed rule that requires people who make more than $600 to report that income, but the IRS delayed implementing that change.

Republicans said while they don’t agree with the policy, they’re also frustrated with the delay.

“The way to fix this terrible law is to repeal it, not to use the IRS to shield the Biden administration from the consequences of its own policies,” said Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO).

“In this situation, we delayed imposing the lower threshold because we realized that immediate implementation posed a high risk of taxpayers being confused, and given the complexities of the 1099 reporting, some potentially paying taxes they didn’t actually owe,” said Werfel.

Werfel said another big focus for the IRS this tax season is identifying corporations or wealthy individuals who have evaded paying their fair share.

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