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“The Anatomy of a Telephone Call to the IRS”
By Raul O. Serrano, Jr., C.P.A.

Today, September 17, 2013, I called the IRS at 1-800-829-8374 in response to an IRS Notice CP23 requesting a balance due on my client’s 1040 tax return for a discrepancy in the reported estimated payments.  Prior to the discontinuance of the E-services Problem Resolution, we would have gone on line and typed in the problem and sent it to the IRS via E-Services and would have received a response within 3 business days.  Today I called the 1-800 number and was on hold for 35 minutes before a person answered the phone to advise me that she needed to transfer my call to another department, and that there was a more than 15-minute wait.  It has been 6 minutes and I am still listening to the recorded music and the pleasant voice that comes every few minutes to remind me that they are busy and they will get to me ASAP.  As I wait, I am reminded of what the IRS said in response to the practitioners complaining of the decision to terminate E-Services, that they would put more personnel to answer the phones so that the response time would be approximately the same as using the E-Services.  Well, it has now been 12 minutes and the recorded music is aggravating and so is the recorded voice.  Please keep in mind that I have been on hold for a total of 50 minutes and still counting.  Please stop telling me your representatives are helping other customers and that you will answer our call ASAP.

At least while we wait, they should have entertainment capabilities like videos of IRS employees line dancing, etc.  That would keep our minds off the frustration of waiting what appears to be at least an hour or more to hopefully get the problem resolved and not be re-routed to another number, which only means additional waiting time.  Did you know that the recorded music is the same with all the telephone numbers you call or are transferred to? 

It has now been 56 minutes from when I called and was later transferred to another number.  I can only remember the good old days when I could use the E-Services and within minutes send an explanation and within 3 business days get a response.  YES, those were the good old days!!!!!!!!!

I guess next, we could be terminating the use of computers and going back to manual labor.  Huh. 

It has officially been 1 hour, with no hope of talking to a person in sight.  In my frustration, I am considering moving to India, since they appear to be more technology oriented. 

It has now been an 1 hour and 16 minutes.  The music seems to get louder, the voice more penetrating,  I cannot take it anymore.  I have considered ending the call, but, then the notices and threats will continue, so I keep reminding myself that I must wait.

It has now been 1 hour and 40 minutes, my thinking is not clear, who am I calling??

“Please continue to hold”.....................”please continue to hold”……………I can’t take it anymore!!!

As I wait in desperation, my thinking becomes fogged.  I know that the client does not owe the $80,000.00 that the IRS notice is requesting, but maybe it is best if he just pays it????

NO!! I must be strong, let’s keep on holding and eventually someone will answer, RIGHT?

Dear God help me!!!

In my desperation, I am thinking “could this call take longer than a day, maybe weeks?”.

At what point will the client be better off paying the IRS than paying me for holding?

Just when I thought things could not get any worse, yes, nature was calling.  I needed to go to the men’s room; but, what if the IRS would answer while I was away.  No, I cannot take that chance; I must not leave my office.

Finally, Oh YES, a voice, “Good morning how can I help you?”.  It has now been 1 hour and 53 minutes, and finally the IRS employee tells me that she cannot locate my Power of Attorney, but she took the information and told me that, if I already wrote a letter, that it would take 60 days for them to process.

I waited 1 hour and 53 minutes for a 2 minute conversation with no results.

As I hung up the phone, I felt I had accomplished something, even though nothing was done; and just think, I have to do this again.

Raul O. Serrano, Jr. C.P.A., P.A.
4330 Sheridan Street, Suite 202B
Hollywood, FL 33021
Phone: (954) 987-4878
Fax: (954) 987-4776

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