The Internal Revenue Service has been taking a good deal of
abuse in the last two months, but the agency is trying to turn
its image around, beginning with its first "Problem Solving Day"
Saturday in Jacksonville and 32 other cities.
Citizens can talk to IRS employees about their lingering tax
problems, which could range from unresolved bills to errors with
payments or IRS collection tactics.
"Having a national day, it's almost the equivalent of a
military stand down," said Phil Brand, a former IRS chief
compliance officer now at the accounting firm KPMG Peat Marwick.
"I think it has a chance of being almost a seminal event for the
IRS employees and top officials will be available Saturday.
"It gives us another opportunity to interact with the public,
to let people know that we really are interested in solving
problems," said Henry O. Lamar Jr., district director for the
IRS in Jacksonville.
The IRS has been fighting a negative image for years, and its
image took an even bigger beating two months ago as the Senate
Finance Committee heard taxpayers' tales of abuse by the agency
during hearings. Acting IRS Commissioner Michael Dolan promised
at the hearing to take immediate action to try to help
"This day [Saturday] is really in response to comments made
by our acting commissioner at the finance committee hearings,"
Taxpayers can come to the IRS office at 400 W. Bay St. in
downtown Jacksonville from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to talk
with an IRS representative. Maxine Lindsay, IRS taxpayer
advocate for the Jacksonville district, said some problems can
get resolved in as little as 15 minutes, such as a delayed
"Those are quick fixes," she said.
An appointment is not necessary, but one can be scheduled for
Saturday by calling (904) 354-1760 or 1-800-829-1040. …