The National Society of Accountants has delivered what it calls “a strongly worded letter” to the chairs and ranking members of the Appropriations Committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives criticizing them for slashing the IRS budget by hundreds of millions of dollars.

According to the NSA, a House bill calls for an $838 million cut in 2016 from the 2015 budget of $10.9 billion, which is also $2.8 billion less than President Obama’s 2016 budget request. A Senate bill proposes a cut of $470 million.

“Individual and small-business taxpayers are being harmed by IRS budget cuts on a daily basis,” NSA executive vice president John Ams wrote. “They are desperate for the kind of help and guidance that only the IRS can provide, but for which the agency has little or no budgeted funds.” He added that these cuts continue a multi-year trend of declining budgets for the IRS.

The IRS Taxpayer Advocate found that in 2014, 35.6 percent of phone calls went unanswered by IRS customer service representatives, NSA added, and half of written correspondence was “not handled in a timely manner.”

The NSA letter expressed support for a November 9 letter signed by five former IRS commissioners sent to these same Congressional leaders. “If you truly believe, as you state, that, ‘We need the IRS to enforce tax laws, stop and prevent fraud, prepare forms and instruction, process refunds, collect revenue and assist taxpayers in complying with tax obligations,’ then the first step would be to develop a budget for the IRS that would actually provide the agency the means with which to do so,” NSA president Kathy Hettick concluded.

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