So, you have two taxing agencies – the IRS and AZ Department of Revenue (AZDOR) – both tasked with the same job – bringing in money to their respective areas.  So, which is better, IRS or AZDOR?  or, to put it another way, which is WORSE, the IRS or AZDOR?  Maybe I’m just a bit peeved today after having spent over 2 hours on hold listening to the horrid AZDOR muzak, and having them tell me over and over again how much they appreciated my patience and understanding.  Two hours after having been told it would be 5 minutes!  If you are keeping score in the IRS or AZDOR race, that gives 1 to AZDOR, for its terrible customer service.  To flesh out the story a bit, I’m trying to respond for a client who got a nasty-gram from our state demanding a response.  I do the right thing and fax in the Power of Attorney form, completely filled out, I wait the respectable two days for them to find the fax and get it into the system and then I call the number on the letter.  The recorded voice on the other end says: this is Claudia, I can’t come to the phone now, but leave a message and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.  I leave a detailed message naming my client, myself, my telephone number and a polite message asking her to call me back.  I wait 2 more days with no response being forthcoming and call again.  Same result (Score at this point shows IRS or AZDOR as 0:2 on the ‘bad’ scale).  After a couple more days I call the AZDOR main line and explain that I have been unable to get a response from Claudia, and they inform me that she has been moved to a different position and that her replacement does not yet have a telephone.  (new score for IRS or AZDOR in the category of extreme incompetence – 0:3 – seriously – the collection agent trying to get over $50,000 does not have a phone.  Maybe it is just me, but if someone owed me $50,000 I’d danged well have a phone, and I’d have it with me 24/7)  I do what comes naturally at this point and ask the nice person on the other end of the line if there is someone I can call that might know what is going on with this case.  She pleasantly says yes and gives me the name Ryan, and his phone number.  Ok, I think, here is where I am finally going to get somewhere.  I call Ryan.  I get his voice mail.  He says he can’t take my call at this time, but if I leave a message he will get back to me within 24 hours . . . gosh that sounds familiar.  Care to take a guess at what happens next?  Hey, no fair reading ahead – yes, you are right, I don’t get called back by Ryan either.  So I call again in 2 days; same result.  And again in another 2 days; same result.  So I do the only rational thing, I ‘Google’ him – I find his ‘Linkedin’ page – guess what it says?  I would have never guessed this in a million years – well, ok, maybe by then, but certainly not anytime in the near future.  Seems Ryan is an Enrolled Agent like me and managed to get a job outside the AZDOR – my guess is that he was under paid and over worked – so, I say to Ryan “congrats!”  I may even try to link to him – AFTER I finish with this debacle with the AZDOR (score 0:4, for nobody at AZDOR even knowing this SUPERVISOR no longer worked there – do YOU know if your boss still works at your company???  yeah, I thought you did).

So, for my money, at this time anyway, I’d have to vote that the DOR is way out in front of the IRS in the ‘which is worse: IRS of AZDOR’ competition.  Oh, and I heard from a frustrated taxpayer the other day – seems they are still waiting for their state refund – I thought I’d help by calling to find out what happened – the voicemail message I got said (and no, I am not kidding here) “if you are calling about a late refund, please be aware that we will not respond until you have not received your refund for more than 26 weeks after filing your taxes” – so, in light of that, I am encouraging all of my clients to reduce their AZ withholding amount and come in for some ‘tax planning’ to avoid having either a refund or an amount due.  It is actually rather easy, once you have access to a tax professional between April 16th and January 1st.  We at Brady’s Tax Service are in the office Monday through Friday, 9:30 am until 5:00 pm – to better serve the needs of the taxpayer.  Come on in and visit – tax planning is free.