Understaffed IRS office has taxpayers reeling

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A mix up at the Internal Revenue Service has got some taxpayers reeling. People claim they are waiting in long lines, some of them only to get turned around when they reach the door.

"I arrived at 7:45 this morning and there was a line already when I got here," Robert Williams said.

"I came yesterday around 2 p.m. and it was so packed he turned people away," Evelyn Pierson said.

Some people who arrived at the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center mid morning on Wednesday were greeted by signs that indicated government workers would not be seeing anyone the rest of the day. Those who were lucky enough to get inside were warned the wait would not be short.

"He came out and asked us to bear with him because there's only one person working today," Williams said.

It was disappointing news for Chris Allen who said the delay would hold up his college financial aid application.

"They're over capacity and the guy said they aren't going to see no more people until after 1 p.m. today," Allen said.

Douglas Neal said he drove 150 miles from Winnsboro, Louisiana to get a copy of a similar document.

"If I waited until 1 p.m. to get a ticket and I don't know how many people inside are waiting to be seen right now I probably won't even be seen today anyway," Neal said.

"He said they aren't going to be able to see us today and will be crowded tomorrow. So I don't know it might be next week before I can get in," Curtis Watson said.

Those, like Evelyn Pierson, who were lucky enough to get a ticket guaranteeing a place in line said once they got inside they were told they would have to wait again.

"It took me two hours exactly to get the paper I needed," Pierson said.

That was on top of the daylong wait Pierson said she already went through on Tuesday.

Ronnie Evans said Wednesday's visit to the IRS office wasn't his first this week either.

"It's just a real inconvenience to have to keep coming back every time you need something and they can't give it to you. I'll have to come back tomorrow. What can you do," Evans said.

Spokeswoman for the IRS, Dee Stepter, said there are normally four people working in the Baton Rouge office. However, she said the staff was reduced to one person when two people called in sick and another planned vacation. Stepter said she expects the office will be operating with a full staff by next week.

Meanwhile, the IRS is encouraging taxpayers to use its web-based online tools at www.IRS.gov.

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