Wishful, you brought back memories of when I had to schedule staff. Each day was broken into 3 hours of staffing, by how many clients came in the year before at those hours. 90% of the time after peak it was wrong, and it was a scramble to call people in, or send some home early. They then went to calling each office every few hours wanting 3 numbers. How many preparers were in office, how many clients at desks, and how many clients in the waiting room. Depending on the answer, we were asked to send people home, or poof, another preparer from another office showed up. Usually too late, as the waiting room was empty by the time they got there.
When I started at HRB, we had to take turns with clients, if we got one that took 1/2 hour, and our coworkers got one that needed an hour or more, we had to sit idle till our turn came up again. There could be 3 of us in the back room joking around while 3-4 clients sat in the waiting room. A couple years they made a big deal out of appointments, taking them ahead of walk ins that lost a lot of walk-ins, then walk-ins had priority over appointments.
The worst thing they did was have a phone center making appointments and NOT honoring the client's request for a preparer of choice. Or a preparer having 2 appointments at the same time because the office was also making appointments. All my years of doing tax returns, staffing is still a problem hard to resolve. I've had many 3 hour shifts turn into 8 hours with no break in the day. Likewise, I've had days of surfing the Internet between clients, while clock watching.
This is much closer than most realize. It started about 20 years ago with computer filing, and has been IRS's dream. Every year they get more intrusive. Think 3921 and 3922, that allows them to know the basis of stock purchased. Or 1099 K, for every business that accepts credit cards. They already have our income with W2 and 1099's, they know how much interest and dividends, and there are now a lot of cities that have a small tax on rental property with a monthly report of rental income. IRS can tap into their computers. They know how much interest and property tax we pay on the mortgage, and can disallow a charity donation of $250 (to one organization) without a receipt. They have the power to challenge a parent by making them prove the kid lives with them by asking for school or doctor's records. Their ability for getting a bigger and bigger paper trail is growing by leaps and bounds. Sch A (itemizing) has been growing smaller. (For those that remember when all interest was deductible, plus the gas tax, and casually lost was only subject to a $100 floor). We use to be able to deduct food when moving, NOT any more! While insurance cost go up, deductabilty goes down (7.5%, now 10% for under age 65). These were items taking away from main street. Easier for IRS's paper trail's dream.
Agree, IRS hasn't the ability to audit most returns. Long, long time ago in a Playboy article on taxes, it said take every deduction you can "dream up", put the refund money in the bank for 3 years, and if you're not called for an audit it's yours to keep. Most couldn't do that, they rather sleep at night. 50 years later, not so much when we hear of billions in fraudulent refunds. Seems easier to rob taxpayers, than banks, no mask or get away car needed, can do it from home while sipping coffee. Congress needs to re-think these refundable credits (IRS should be a collection agency, not a welfare agency that hands dollars out), and needs to get ALL W2's and 1099's, and 1098's into their computers before accepting returns to make sure they are legit. 2 simple ways to clean up fraud!