IRS head says budget cuts could delay tax refunds

WASHINGTON (AP) – IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says budget cuts just enacted by Congress could delay tax refunds next year.

At a news conference Thursday, Koskinen said taxpayer services will be hurt, and fewer agents will be auditing returns. He said about half the people who call the agency for assistance won’t be able to get through to a person.

Congress cut the IRS budget by $346 million for the budget year that ends in September 2015. The $10.9 billion budget is $1.2 billion less than the agency received in 2010.

The cuts come as the IRS is starting to play a bigger role in implementing President Barack Obama’s health law. For the first time, taxpayers will have to report on their tax returns whether they have health insurance.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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