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IRS sending additional staff to Tampa to deal with long lines

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Tampa, March 3, 2016 | comments
Lidennise Jaquez drove from Orlando to Tampa on Thursday because a letter from the IRS. advised her she had to show up in person with a photo ID to prove her identity.
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By Jeff Patterson, broadcast by WFLA on March 3, 2016

Lidennise Jaquez drove from Orlando to Tampa on Thursday because a letter from the IRS. advised her she had to show up in person with a photo ID to prove her identity.

The problem is Jaquez couldn’t find an IRS office that could help.

“I went to Maitland. I have to get an appointment there. I went to Lakeland. I’m from Orlando and I went to Lakeland, and they told me they were closed at 9 in the morning,” Jaquez said.

When she arrived in Tampa, there was a long line of people in front of her, many with similar problems.

The lines have been outside of the IRS office for days.

US Senator Bill Nelson found out about the problem and sent a letter to the IRS commissioner. Nelson asked the commissioner to “respond appropriately to ensure taxpayers are receiving the assistance they need.”

Congresswoman Kathy Castor also wrote to the IRS saying, “I have fought against Republican cuts to IRS customer service and fraud units, but the cuts have taken their toll and caused long lines and wait-times. Nevertheless, long wait times at field offices and on the phone are unacceptable. I will urge the agency to expand its new appointment-based service approach to Tampa to cut wait times and long lines. In addition, IRS must continue to combat tax fraud. I understand that the IRS is not the most popular government agency, but Republicans in Congress only hurt our neighbors and let tax cheats off the hook when huge cuts are imposed on the IRS. At the bare minimum, Congress should provide functioning taxpayer services, acceptable staffing levels, enable the IRS to invest in advanced technology, and adequately fund tax enforcement and oversight responsibilities.”

An IRS spokesman says they will now send additional employees to the Tampa office to help with the long line. Michael Dobzinski with the IRS says that many people who are showing up at the Tampa office could handle their problems online.

“Forty percent of the people coming in have problems that can be handled on line,” Dobzinski said.

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