By:  Amanda Wilson

Earlier this week, IRS Commissioner Koskinen delivered a speech that discussed the challenges that the IRS continues to face as a result of budget reductions.  IRS staffing is already down 13,000 full time employees since 2010, and this number is expected to continue to climb as a hiring freeze remains in place.

In some ways, this can be viewed as good news for individuals, as the number of personal individual audits is down.  Unfortunately, it also leaves the IRS without the necessary resources that many taxpayers rely on.  Phone calls to the IRS for assistance result in lengthy wait times.  Requests for private letter rulings take even longer to get a response, and the issuance of public guidance in specialized tax areas (such as partneships and REITs) gets pushed down an ever-lengthening road.