On Thursday, Jose Hernandez was at the Internal Revenue Service office in Las Vegas at 7 a.m., with hopes of finding a solution to his problem.
The 45-year-old North Las Vegas resident said he expected the process would take a while, which is why he took off work as a supplies clerk. But he didn’t know about the opportunity to schedule an appointment until he got to the office at 110 City Parkway.
Because he didn’t have an appointment, he found himself waiting outside for an hour and a half. Hernandez then spent two hours inside, sitting, waiting. And thirty minutes later, he had his solution.
“I knew it’d take time, but I didn’t think that long,” he said in Spanish. “It took longer than I thought,” he said, adding that he thinks needing to schedule an appointment will only slow things down.
The Internal Revenue Service is hoping to reduce lines and wait time at their local Las Vegas location by asking taxpayers to call ahead and schedule an appointment.
IRS spokesman Raphael Tulino said the agency is formally implementing the appointment service starting Monday to reduce frustration and wait time. People can schedule appointments at 110 City Parkway by calling 1-844-545-5640.
The appointment feature comes after the IRS successfully launched a pilot program across the country, he said.
“The Las Vegas office is busy. A lot of folks are there, and there are lines, no question about it,” Tulino said. “This is one of those things we want to implement to make it easier for folks to get the help they need.”
He said the company is urging people to first try to find help online at irs.gov, where services such as getting transcripts and setting up tax payments can be managed.
Tulino said most taxpayers might not initially know about appointments, which can be scheduled as late as 3:45 p.m. But as time goes on, he said the agency hopes to spread awareness about the feature.
People who show up to the office without an appointment might be seen — but priority is given to people with appointments, Tulino said.
At the Las Vegas office, that is what happened to Hernandez.
He said he was one of the first 10 or so people at the office. Four hours later, he had a parking bill for $24, $3 for every half hour, waiting for him.
“It’s a scam,” he said in Spanish, pointing to the parking receipt. “That was too much.” The designated parking area for IRS services is a privately owned parking garage, which houses other companies.
He said he initially called the IRS, trying to figure out why the IRS was telling him he owed $8,000. It was a problem that couldn’t be fixed in over the phone, he said.
But in the end, he said he was happy with the help he received. He said the representative with whom he spoke was able to help him in half an hour, a fraction of the time he spent waiting.
“I’m happy because after all, she did a very good job,” he said.
Contact Review-Journal writer Melissa Gomez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0278. Follow her on Twitter at @MelissaGomez004