The new IRS "customer satisfaction" survey reports.

AuthorEly, Mark H.

Are you a satisfied IRS customer? If not, you can report your feelings to IRS management and Congress using a customer satisfaction survey, designed and administered by an independent research consultant, Pacific Consulting Group (PCG). The company administers the survey to taxpayers and presents the results to the IRS on a quarterly basis. Taxpayers rate how well the Service treated them; how well it explained information, procedures and taxpayer rights; how much time it took the IRS to resolve an issue; how fairly they thought it treated them and how satisfied they were. The survey is administered either by an IRS employee over the telephone or through correspondence.

PCG mails Appeals Division surveys as well as surveys from other IRS issue resolution divisions to taxpayers or their representatives. Responses to questions on the survey range from "very dissatisfied" to "very satisfied." The taxpayer or representative returns the questionnaire by mail. A telephone automated response system handles the Automated Collection Systems (ACS) questionnaire, which takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

The quarterly report provides statistics on 11 categories. Exhibit 1 presents the survey results from December 2000.

According to PCG's Tenth Period Report, the most satisfied customers were those who initiated contact with the IRS. The least satisfied were those with complicated or compliance issues. Employee courtesy and professionalism received high ratings. Evident in all 11 survey categories was the customers' desire for quick resolution and fair treatment. The Service recognizes that responses from a tax professional might be different from a taxpayer's. Thus, the report included a chart that differentiated between the two.

Overall, the outcome of a taxpayer's case with the IRS affected the rate of customer satisfaction with the Examination or Appeals Division. If a...

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