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Spanberger Calls on IRS to Improve Quality of Customer Service, Provide Helpful Information to Central Virginia Taxpayers

Last Week, the IRS Added Thousands of Phone Operators After the Congresswoman Led an Effort Calling on the IRS to Explain its Lack of Telework Capabilities for its Customer Service Employees

Henrico, May 27, 2020

HENRICO, V.A. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger is calling on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to improve its quality of customer service for Central Virginia taxpayers seeking answers about the status of their Economic Impact Payments, or “stimulus checks.”

After Spanberger led a multi-Member effort pushing the IRS to address its lack of customer service resources, the IRS announced last week that it will add 3,500 telephone representatives to answer questions about the status of Americans’ stimulus checks. However, Spanberger’s office has continued to receive calls and emails from Central Virginians describing interactions with the IRS that have resulted in very little new information or added clarity.

In a letter sent to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, Spanberger urged the agency to use its expanded telephone customer service presence to provide accurate and up-to-date information about the status of taxpayers’ stimulus checks. Additionally, she called on the IRS to share information about any current obstacles it’s facing in improving its customer service capabilities.

“I was heartened to hear that the IRS was adding 3,500 telephone representatives to answer questions about these payments, which is why I was then so disappointed to learn about the quality of help provided during these calls,” said Spanberger. “In conversations with my constituents, I have heard story after story detailing how the information provided by these representatives was nothing more than a regurgitation of the information already available online, or how they still are unable to reach a representative. This is unacceptable. Our constituents need more information, not merely the same information presented in a different fashion.”

Spanberger’s letter continues, “I call on the IRS to share information with Congress as to the obstacles they are facing in providing information to taxpayers on an individual basis. If this withholding of specific, individual information is an active choice, I ask the agency to provide their rationale for this choice.”

Central Virginians with questions about their stimulus checks can call the IRS at (800) 919-9835 from 7:00am-7:00pm ET. Following a series of automated responses, the conclusion of the message will present the option of speaking with an IRS phone representative.

Click here to read Spanberger’s letter, and the full letter text is below.

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Dear Commissioner Rettig,

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, millions of families across the country are experiencing financial hardship and uncertainty. The economic impacts of this crisis are wide-ranging and have been felt in every community across the United States. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been instrumental in responding to this economic crisis, by delivering tax refunds and one-time economic impact, or stimulus, payment to eligible recipients.

While I appreciate that the IRS has provided these payments to millions of American taxpayers, I also recognize that there are many of taxpayers who are still waiting on their checks to arrive – and many of them are also still waiting on information about the status of their payments.

The Get My Payment Tool was created to provide information on the status of these economic impact payments, but this tool has been an unusable resource for many of our constituents. Accordingly, I was heartened to hear that the IRS was adding 3,500 telephone representatives to answer questions about these payments, which is why I was then so disappointed to learn about the quality of help provided during these calls.

In conversations with my constituents, I have heard story after story detailing how the information provided by these representatives was nothing more than a regurgitation of the information already available online, or how they still are unable to reach a representative. This is unacceptable. Our constituents need more information, not merely the same information presented in a different fashion. Americans need to be able to inquire about the status of their rebates and be able to get help directly from IRS representatives in sorting out their cases, not merely hear information on the program as a whole. I call on the IRS to share information with Congress as to the obstacles they are facing in providing information to taxpayers on an individual basis. If this withholding of specific, individual information is an active choice, I ask the agency to provide their rationale for this choice.  

As a lifeline for our country’s taxpayers, these Economic Impact Payments are critical to the financial wellbeing of families across the United States. Taxpayers need accurate, current information about the status of these payments—both to address any issues causing a delay and to organize their financial planning accordingly. The lack of any information that millions of American taxpayers are currently experiencing increases hardship and uncertainty at a time when Americans are struggling most.

Thank you, Commissioner Rettig, for your attention to this critical matter, and for the IRS’ work to address the economic impacts of this pandemic. Your swift action on this issue will help alleviate the concerns of taxpayers across our country.

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