Baton Rouge IRS office plagued by long wait times

Long wait time at Baton Rouge IRS office
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Lines are long at the Baton Rouge IRS office and short-staffing may be to blame, according to an IRS spokesperson.

"It was pretty much my whole day," said Ranisco Clark, who waited five hours for an IRS form required for her to attend college.

With college starting up, many students and their families need to go to the IRS to get a "tax transcript," a form which colleges and universities use when calculating financial aid.

"Once they print it out, boom you're out the door," Clark said.

However, while filling out and printing the form can take a matter of minutes, getting to the front of the line to receive the form can take hours at the location in Citiplace off Corporate Blvd.

Last week, Clark she said she arrived at the office around 9 a.m. and did not leave until well after 2 p.m.

"You know when school starts you're going to have that same rush, so you prepare. You get yourself ready for that, so the people aren't inconvenienced," said Angela Weir, who was turned away from the Baton Rouge office and told to come back the next day.

She was there to get a tax transcript for her daughter who is about to start school.

In an email, an IRS spokeswoman attributed the wait times to short-staffing.

"The long lines are not unique to the Baton Rouge office. Due to our limited resources, our staffing is down significantly over the last few years," wrote Lea Crusberg.

Back in April, IRS commissioner John Koskinen told the United States Congress the IRS budget had been slashed by $1.2 billion in the past five years. That has resulted in thousands of permanent jobs being cut and reduced seasonal hiring during rush times.

"Our level of customer service this filing season has been unacceptably low, both in person and on the phone, despite the best efforts of our employees," he said in his written statement.

Still, many Baton Rouge residents are frustrated.

"I have the means where I can stop and take time to do this, but there are people who can't," Weir said. "They would lose their jobs waiting down here."

For those wanting to avoid the lines, the IRS recommended ordering the tax transcript online or over the phone. This option requires about a ten-day wait.

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