Here is the opposite view on the same story: IRS intentionally dialed back 'customer service' in ploy to seek greater funding

A congressional report released Wednesday accuses the IRS of intentionally
hobbling its taxpayer assistance budget in order to invite the public to
believe that the agency is underfunded and understaffed -- and, therefore,
unable to respond adequately to taxpayers' inquiries.

The scathing report
delivered by the House Ways and Means Committee, blasts the agency for
allocating funds for nonessential and often frivolous uses, even as IRS
commissioner John Koskinen repeatedly told members of Congress the agency
was crippled by Congress' refusal to increase the IRS's budget for fiscal
year 2014.

Here's a portion of the report:

During the 2015 tax-filing season, the IRS provided what its own
Commissioner described as "abysmal" customer service, blaming skyrocketing
wait times for telephone and in-person assistance on agency budget cuts.
The IRS even called budget cuts "a tax cut for tax cheats." But a close
review of the agency's spending shows the IRS deliberately cut $134 million
in funding for customer service to pay for other activities. Spending
decisions entirely under the IRS's control led to 16 million fewer
taxpayers receiving IRS assistance this filling season...

... The IRS's spending choices and mismanagement of resources raise serious
questions about the nature and extent of the agency's self-described budget
crisis and its commitment to serving the taxpayer.

... The IRS collects nearly $500 million in user fees each year that it can
spend (and raise) without congressional approval, and the agency has broad
flexibility to allocate that funding as it sees fit. Typically, a
significant share of those user fees is dedicated to customer service
activities. Yet, this year, the agency decided to make drastic cuts to
taxpayer assistance. Instead of prioritizing customer service or boosting
its enforcement budget, the IRS spent the bulk of its user-fee receipts on
other priorities. As Commissioner John Koskinen announced to IRS employees
in January 2015, the IRS is doing "less with less." This, despite the fact
that appropriations for assistance were constant from fiscal year 2014 to

... The IRS's congressionally allocated budget for taxpayer assistance
remained flat from fiscal year 2014 to 2015. Nevertheless, the level of
service, especially for over-the-phone customer service, decreased
drastically. In January 2015, the IRS commissioner estimated that taxpayer
service would decline while delays in tax refunds would increase. While the
IRS commissioner has blamed this solely on budget cuts, in reality the IRS
deliberately diverted resources away from taxpayer services.

The report does more than rant, though, offering some unsolicited advice
the IRS might put to good use -- if its bosses truly want to get the most
mileage out of the agency's annual budget. Here's a graphic the committee
introduced to demonstrate how the agency could have adjusted its priorities
last year in order to save money on a number of fronts:

[image: HWMC_IRS]