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WASHINGTON — If you have a question for the IRS that you think can be answered over the phone, think again.
Last year, more than 100 million calls were placed to the tax-collection agency. Nearly 20 million of them went unanswered. Those who did get through were put on hold for an average of almost 18 minutes.
These are just a few of the eye-openers in the annual report that the National Taxpayer Advocate recently issued to Congress.
Nina Olson, the advocate, said that the agency’s funding was cut substantially in last year’s sequestration. In addition, the IRS has had to handle a huge increase in tax-related identity theft and refund fraud, assigning more than 3,000 employees to address those issues last year.