Budget cuts backed by congressional Republicans could delay tax refunds in 2015, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told reporters on Thursday.
“Everybody’s return will get processed,” Koskinen said at a news conference. “But people have gotten very used to being able to file their return and quickly get a refund. This year we may not have the resources.”
Koskinen painted a dire picture of the fallout from the $346 million cut that the IRS received in the recent year-end spending deal. Because of a government-wide pay raise next year, the IRS will have to pay out an extra $250 million in salaries and other expenses – creating in essence, Koskinen said, a $600 million hole for the agency to fill.
Already, Koskinen told employees this week that the agency would have to stop handing out overtime, in all but emergency situations, and freeze hiring. The IRS will still hire temporary staff to help out during the filing season, Koskinen said Thursday.
Still, the commissioner stressed that the budget cuts will undoubtedly make life more difficult for taxpayers once the 2015 filing season opens. Taxpayers trying to reach the IRS will have only about a 50-50 shot at getting their call answered – and those that do can expect to be on hold for awhile, Koskinen said.
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