IRS Launches Hiring Surge, New Taxpayer Experience Office
The Washington Post reported Friday that the IRS plans to hire 10,000 new employees to deal with the current backlog of 24 million unprocessed returns and correspondence ahead of filing season, an effort which will include looking to fill jobs that have been vacant for years.
It has been a rough year so far for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is understaffed and underfunded heading into the tax season. It also announced that it was dropping a tool from a controversial vendor, ID.me, that would have required the use of selfies for identification purposes.
The Washington Post reported Friday that the IRS plans to hire 10,000 new employees to deal with the current backlog of 24 million unprocessed returns and correspondence ahead of filing season, an effort which will include looking to fill jobs that have been vacant for years. Those hires, the report said, will be paid for by money from existing budgets, including leftover coronavirus relief funds for the agency.
The IRS had applied for direct hiring authority from the Office of Personnel Management last spring, although that office declined their request at the time. The Post added that the agency has lost 20,000 employees since 2010, largely as a result of budget cuts demanded by Republicans in Congress. Many more IRS employees left or retired during the pandemic.
And now, with the tax filing deadline about six weeks away, the agency has announced a new tool, called the Taxpayer Experience Office. The new office was announced Friday, and the IRS vowed to expand the effort.
The office, the IRS announced, will focus on “all aspects of taxpayer transactions with the IRS across the service, compliance and other program areas,” and will look closely with the Taxpayer Advocate Service. Its establishment resulted directly from the Taxpayer First Act report to Congress that was issued in early 2021, and the subsequent Taxpayer Experience Strategy.
It will also attempt to implement recommendations from the president’s executive order last December, which is titled the Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government. That order was issued with an eye towards making Americans’ interactions with the federal government easier and less time-consuming.
"As the IRS continues taking immediate steps this filing season including adding more employees to address the significant challenges facing a resource-constrained IRS, it's critical that we work going forward to equip the IRS to be a 21st century resource for Americans," IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig said in the announcement. "The formal establishment of this office will help unify and expand efforts across the IRS to improve service to taxpayers."
"The IRS is committed to customer experiences that meet taxpayers where they are, in the moments that matter most in people's lives and in a way that delivers the service that the public expects and deserves," Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer Ken Corbin noted in the same announcement.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.