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Spanberger pushes IRS to add thousands of phone operators to answer stimulus check questions

Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Spanberger, D-Va., pushed the IRS to address its glaringly insufficient lack of customer service resources, and the IRS responded.

The agency announced yesterday that it will add 3,500 telephone representatives to answer questions about the status of Americans’ Economic Impact Payments.

Following the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in Marchmillions of Americans have received Economic Impact Payments, or “stimulus checks.” But while the IRS’ Get My Payment tool was created to provide timely information on the status of these direct payments, this tool has been an unhelpful resource for many Americans.

Unfortunately, there is currently no alternative customer service resource for individuals who receive zero or little information from the Get My Payment tool, as the IRS has not yet instituted teleworking operations for its customer service representatives since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

To help fix this problem, Spanberger led a multi-member effort earlier this month calling on the IRS to provide additional information on the status of taxpayers’ stimulus checks, address its unacceptable lack of customer service representatives, and outline its rationale for a lack of telework operations.

Spanberger and her colleagues called on the IRS to share information to Congress about any obstacles it’s facing in expanding telework capabilities, particularly for its customer service representatives. Yesterday, the IRS announced that it will bring on thousands of telephone operations to answer frequently asked questions about Economic Impact Payments.

“This announcement from the IRS is welcome news for Central Virginia’s working families, many of whom are still seeking answers about the status of their stimulus checks. However, the addition of these customer service representatives is only the first step in addressing the enormous, unacceptable backlog of work that has piled up for IRS employees,” said Spanberger.

“Taxpayers deserve better treatment during this crisis. Especially at a time when financial stress levels are high and family budgets are strained, Central Virginians should be able to have their urgent questions answered by a human being on the other end of the line. As the IRS begins onboarding these additional customer service employees, I’ll keep pushing the agency to better coordinate its call center operations, troubleshoot ongoing challenges with the Get My Payment tool, and bring much needed relief to Central Virginia individuals and families.”

The IRS continues to post new and updated answers to frequently asked questions through its online Economic Impact Payment Information Center.

Additionally, for those who are eligible for an Economic Impact Payment but aren’t required to file a tax return, Spanberger and the IRS are reminding them that the Non-Filers tool also remains available in English or Spanish for them to register for a direct payment.

In Spanberger’s letter to the IRS earlier this month, she and 10 of her colleagues also called on the IRS to provide their plan to address the building backlog of work that is not being done due to the inability to telework, including the processing of taxes filed on paper and the distribution of tax refunds.