Thursday, February 11, 2010

Severe Weather Won't Stall US Taxpayer Services, IRS Says

With the serious snowstorms crippling Washington and most of the Northeast over the past week, the IRS is reassuring taxpayers by asserting their ability to process tax returns and pay refunds in a timely manner will not be stopped by the weather. According to reports, dozens of Federal agencies including the IRS have been closed for three days this week as blizzard like conditions swept through Washington.

But with all individual return processing now performed outside of the northeast at centers in places like Fresno, Calif., Atlanta, and Kansas City, taxpayers need not fear that refund checks or answers to questions through IRS toll-free services will be delayed, said IRS spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge. "Now is a time when we are getting a high volume of calls and a lot of returns filed, especially from people who are owed refunds, and we're continuing to do that work," said Eldridge.

She said that due to weather-related closures this week, some calls to the IRS taxpayer hotline have been re-routed to call centers unaffected by storms. She said it isn't unusual for such calls to be re-routed when there are closures or staffing shortages.

The IRS might see a spike in telephone inquiries and returns filed because "people who are stuck home might decide they want to go ahead and do their taxes," said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union. "But there are so many call centers around the country, those adjustments should be invisible to the taxpayer," she said.

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