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IRS: Hold, Please

So I’ve been on hold with the IRS for more than 20 minutes now… And this is the Practitioner Hotline! I get it, they’re busy and it’s the end of the year. So I’m not really complaining. Well, sort of. A little.

If you’ve ever called the IRS, you’re well aware of the fact that you should be prepared to wait – and the hold times are getting longer. While you wait, you are subjected to the same hold music over and over and over. On the “regular” IRS line, the hold music is from the Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky and yes, that’s played year round, much to my assistant’s dismay. I haven’t been able to figure out the Practitioner Hotline music (anyone?) but it is much, much worse.

The hold music at the IRS has become something of a joke in the tax practitioner community but it appears that the IRS is actually thinking about whether it makes sense to change it. The IRS Advisory Council 2009 Public Report even made this recommendation:

Replace the hold music with wait-time information callers will need to improve the

efficiency of the call, such as: redirecting callers to, information on offers in compromise, phishing warnings, paying taxes with credit cards or EFTPS, and the basics of financial information for an installment agreement.

Personally, I’m not such a fan of this idea. Important information should be made available to taxpayers on line or by pushing a button, not played randomly in a loop. But maybe that’s just me.

If I had to change the hold music, I’d just mix it up a little. I might even throw some fun “topic appropriate” tunes in, something like the Beatles’ “Tax Man” or Warren Zevon’s “Lawyers, Guns and Money.” What else do you suggest?

By Kelly on November 15, 2010 · Posted in just for fun

We definitely need the hold music. Our SOP is to put the practitioner hotline on speaker and go do something else. When the music stops there’s a mad dash to the phone before the agent gets done with their employee number. If they interrupt the hold music with “useful” information our office will be thrown into all kinds of chaos with the ensuing false alarms.

Category: Taxes

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