I-Team: Taxpayers having problems at IRS office

Posted at 5:08 PM, Mar 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-31 19:24:20-04
87-year-old Bob Fernandez isn't happy about his recent visit to the Tampa IRS office off Columbus Ave.
The same office that had extraordinarily long lines outside a few weeks ago because they were low staffed.
"I've been to this office before and I've never had this kind of problem before.  This is foolishness.  It's plain harassment as far as I'm concerned," Fernandez said.
Bob says when he went to pick up his tax forms at the IRS office during normal business hours, the doors were locked.  
After he knocked, a security guard asked him if he had an appointment.  He said he just needed to pick up tax forms.
"He says, 'Well do you have any weapons on you?'  I said, 'No, I don't have any weapons on me.'"
He was told to empty his pockets.
"Then with a wand they had me spread eagle and put my arms out, spread my legs and they went with a wand up and down and I said, 'Do I have to do all this to get some forms?'"
Turns out they didn't have any of the tax forms he needed.
"No booklets, no instruction booklets whatsoever."
Bob wasn't the only one who left the IRS office empty handed after looking for tax forms.
One taxpayer told us, "This time of year, I would hope that they would have all of the forms we need instead of seeing bare shelves which is my case."
Another said, "It's frustrating when you make a trip over and find out you cant get the basic forms."
We went out to help-- sure enough the doors were locked.
After knocking, a security officer answered asking if we have an appointment.
He gave us a number to call, but did admit they are lacking some forms.     
IRS spokesperson Michael  told the I-Team it's against policy to lock the doors and people should be able to walk in before going through security.
They also told us with cut backs they don't stock offices as well as they used to because they want to encourage people to go online.
The office is now by appointment only due to cutbacks in services.
"This is the period of time for income tax for crying out loud have forms available," Fernandez said.
Follow Jarrod Holbrook on Twitter @jarrodholbrook