Phone calls no, emails yes; IRS has new rules for elderly and disabled taxpayers

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HOUSTON, Texas - It looks like this tax season, the Internal Revenue Service is saving some pennies.  With a budget cut of nearly $600 million, financial analysts expect fewer services for taxpayers and fewer individual audits as well.

"Less employees also means that refunds could be held up," explained Certified Public Accountant Edward M. Gardner.  "In addition, when taxpayers call in to get advice they're going to find that there's gonna be longer waits and they might not get through."

Newsfix called a local I.R.S. office in Houston to get a taste of the process.   Not only were we not able to talk to a representative, but to our surprise, an automated answering system welcomed us with the following message:

"If you're disabled or elderly, and require special accommodations for service, please email us at…"

The message seems shocking. In other words, if you have some functional limitations and are not internet savvy either, then don't bother with your questions or messages over the phone.

"It's all a matter of timing," said Gardner.  "If you're planning on calling the I.R.S., I recommend that you do it between 10am and 11:30am, and between 2pm and 3:30pm.  And when you do call, I want to make you aware that you probably going to be on hold for up to thirty minutes."