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The Daily

On Hold with the IRS? New Service Will Do the Waiting for You

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Feb 5, 2016
By Marjory Collins - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID fsa.8d14059.Waiting on hold with the the government can be stressful. But at least one service, enQ, is marketed to people dealing with the glacial slowness of government bureaucracy, specifically the IRS and Social Security Administration. People from enQ call the IRS or SSA and wait on hold--just to wait on hold. Then, customers who want to call the IRS or SSA but don't want to sit and wait will pay the enQ to take their place in the phone queue.
While there are other services that will wait on hold for you, enQ is the only one so far that is specifically geared toward dealing with government agencies.  
 
A July report from the Taxpayer Advocate confirmed that, indeed, service via telephone was at an all-time low last filing season, with only 37 percent of calls being routed to a real human being, with an average wait time of 23 minutes. This was a marked contrast with the 2014 filing season, where the IRS answered 71 percent of its calls, and hold times averaged about 14 minutes. 
 
Hopefully things will be different this year. The IRS Commissioner said in January that he expected improved phone service in the wake of a $290 million budget increase. Skeptical preparers might want to keep this new service bookmarked, though, just in case.