Washington -- Many taxpayer questions weren't always accurately answered by staff at the Internal Revenue Service’s Tax Assistance Centers and the service hasn't properly educated taxpayers on what services are offered at its TAC, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said in a recent report detailing the state of the IRS’ assistance units.

According to published reports, auditors for the TIGTA said that during the 2004 filing season, taxpayer questions were correctly answered 67 percent of the time, versus a 70-percent level for the prior filing year. The TIGTA also found that TAC employees responded to 32 percent of questions they weren't trained to answer, increasing the risk of taxpayers being given a wrong answer. The auditors also found inconsistencies regarding the hours of operation for the centers.

However, the Inspector General's report indicated that the IRS has launched efforts to hone the quality of service provided by its TAC volunteers. The office recommended that for the 2005 season, the agency should identify steps to “improve the quality of the taxpayer experience” and should provide taxpayers with a list of tax law questions TAC employees are trained to answer.

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