Filing taxes has never been known as a particularly joyful process.
But this year, taxpayers could encounter even more roadblocks and frustration than usual.
That’s largely because the IRS has experienced significant cuts to its overall budget and personnel. In fact, CNN reports that the agency's topline budget for 2015 is at least 10% less than it was in 2010. Meanwhile, in the last five years, the IRS has lost about 8% of its staff.
The real problem is that, when it begins accepting payments on January 20, this short-staffed organization will somehow have to manage a greater number of taxpayers than ever before. Since 2010, the number of taxpayers has increased by about 7 million.
At the same time, the IRS is now tasked with enforcing an increasingly complex tax code. This year marks the first time the IRS will have to deal with premium tax credits (federal subsidies to help lower the cost of policy premiums for low- and middle-income Americans) and individual mandates (the requirement that most people purchase health insurance or pay a fine) under the Affordable Care Act.
Ultimately, these new complications could lead to some disruption in the current tax-filing system.
Some experts say that might mean delayed refunds. Others predict that nearly half of calls to the IRS will go unanswered—and that taxpayers who do receive help will have to wait more than half an hour just to speak to someone.
If you already find paying your taxes to be a ridiculously confusing process, it’s a good idea to start with the basics. Check out these answers to your 11 most embarrassing tax-related queries.