Watchdog Reports ‘Unconscionable’ Delays in IRS Identity Theft Cases

( – An independent watchdog within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported that despite improvements to taxpayer services, the IRS operated at a snail’s pace trying to resolve cases of identity theft, which the watchdog office called “unconscionable.”

On Wednesday, June 26th, Congress received a midyear report from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) which concluded that despite running generally “smoothly,” the 2024 tax season experienced significant delays in resolving identity theft cases, many of which are still pending, and some refund payment delays.

The TAS is an internal watchdog office established within the IRS, a part of the larger U.S. Department of Treasury, and which reports directly to the IRS commissioner. The office is designed to help taxpayers resolve issues with the IRS and to protect taxpayers’ rights from violations.

The National Taxpayer Advocate report found that 2024 “generally ran smoothly,” especially following a recent funding boost to the IRS by the Inflation Reduction Act passed by the Democrats and signed by President Joe Biden in August 2022. The 10-year plan gave the IRS “funds to improve… services and technology to make tax filing easier” for filers.

National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins, who leads the TAS, said that the agency has “progressed from a place of despair” to one “of hope and optimism” over the last four years. That optimism aside, Collins also said that the “delays in resolving” cases of identity was “unconscionable.” The report specifically detailed how tax collectors performed in 2024 through efforts to modernize technology, how fast filings are processed, how quickly IRS employees answer the phone, and how quickly refund checks are issued, as well as other factors.

The report found that since last year, the average time it took to resolve cases of identity theft increased to 22 months from 19 months. The report found roughly half a million cases remained unresolved in the IRS inventory. The report concluded that “low-income taxpayers” who often rely on their tax refunds are particularly impacted by identity theft and delays in their payouts.

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