Please hold: Pricey way to jump IRS phone line at tax time

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At a time when calls to the IRS have reached record levels, a private company lets those who are willing to pay jump to the front of the line to get their phone calls answered. That has attracted the attention of lawmakers who want the IRS to investigate the company’s impact on the agency’s phone capacity. The service is expected to come up on Thursday when a Senate committee holds a hearing on IRS customer service problems. Critics see it as a pay-to-play arrangement that gives those who can afford it a way to get quick access to what should be a free government service equally available to all.

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