The Washington Times - January 7, 2010, 11:10AM

The Internal Revenue Services is warning tax filers that 3 in 10 calls to the agency will likely be ignored this year,

The IRS said in its annual report to Congress that the IRS is overwhelmed because more people are phoning the IRS with increasingly complex questions than in years past. As a result, the agency has lowered its target rate of answering calls to only 71 percent for the fiscal year 2010, down from 83 percent in fiscal year 2007.

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“In other words, the IRS has set its priorities so that nearly three out of every ten calls seeking to reach an IRS telephone assistor will not get through, and callers who do receive assistance will first have to wait on hold for an average of nearly 12 minutes,” the report said.

Although a goal of 71 percent may not seem high enough to tax filers, it would be a better rate of answering calls than the IRS achieved last year.

During the fiscal year 2009 tax season the IRS reported answering only 64 percent of calls with wait times of roughly eight and a half minutes.

Things don’t appear to have improved over time and with congressional intervention, either. In 1998 Congress passed legislation to help improve service for taxpayers. That year the rate of service was 69 percent, four points better than the 2009 rate.