FEDweek

Tax Changes Would Burden Already-Strapped IRS, Union Says

The passage by Congress of a package of tax changes would add new responsibilities to the IRS, which already is over-burdened with the results of years of budgetary restrictions that have among other things reduced the agency’s workforce, according to the NTEU union, which represents many employees there.

“The civil servants of the IRS stand ready to implement tax reform legislation and to assist taxpayers, businesses, and the professional tax community, but it is incumbent upon Congress to provide the IRS with the resources necessary to implement any proposed changes to the tax code, to deliver a successful 2018 filing season, and to carry out their core taxpayer service and enforcement mission,” the union said.

“If tax reform is signed into law, the IRS will have to reprogram its computers; develop new regulations and tax forms; educate taxpayers, businesses, and the tax practitioner community so they can understand and comply with new tax laws; respond to what is expected to be a significant increase in taxpayer requests for direct assistance; and train IRS employees. That work is on top of preparations for the upcoming 2018 tax filing season,” it said.

The IRS workforce has decreased by more than 20,000 permanent, full-time employees to about 73,000 since 2010 (the agency supplements that workforce with thousands of temporary employees during filing season). IG reports and other studies have blamed the workforce and funding restrictions for problems including degraded customer service, declines in audits and security vulnerabilities arising from inability to replace outdated technology.