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Cedar Rapids IRS office requires appointments

Agency says most issues can be resolved on website

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The Internal Revenue Service has begun requiring taxpayers needing service to schedule appointments in advance.

The federal agency on Monday began scheduling appointments for Sept. 12 or later at its Cedar Rapids taxpayer assistance center, 425 Second St. SE. Taxpayers should call (844) 545-5640 to schedule an appointment.

“We’ve found that many people who were planning to come to a taxpayer assistance center were able to find the answers they need by visiting our website, www.IRS.gov,” said Christopher Miller, an IRS spokesman.

Miller said the agency is moving to scheduled appointments as part of an ongoing effort to eliminate lines and reduce frustration for taxpayers who have more complex tax matters requiring in-person assistance.

The IRS began testing scheduled appointments in February 2015 at 44 of its larger tax assistance centers around the country. Miller said the first come, first served system in place at most IRS offices does not guarantee when or if a taxpayer will receive assistance.

Long lines have been the norm, especially during tax filing season. Miller said scheduled appointments should eliminate that uncertainty.

The IRS budget has been cut by 17 percent since 2010, after adjusting for inflation, forcing the agency to reduce its workforce. Responding to criticism, Congress agreed to a small nominal increase in IRS funding for fiscal year 2016.

In a related note, Vermaas & Sons, a Lincoln, Neb., real estate developer, is constructing a 7,344-square-foot building at 3205 Williams Blvd. SW that will be leased to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) for the IRS. Miller said the agency expects to move into the new building before the tax filing season begins in January.

l Comments: (319) 398-8366; george.ford@thegazette.com

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