Federal Manager's Daily Report

Internal Revenue Service Headquarters Building in Northwest Washington DC

The IRS changed direction on staffing in fiscal 2019 by increasing employment after years of decline but it still is well below the level of a decade ago and still faces a variety of challenges, according to the agency’s annual report.

“In FY 2019, the IRS employed about 78,004 employees, including more than 12,600 temporary and seasonal staff. The IRS gained 1,593 full time positions between FY 2018 and FY 2019, although staffing levels remain well below levels in previous decades. The IRS lost more than 29,618 full time positions between FY 2010 and FY 2019, which includes information technology, operations support, taxpayer service and enforcement personnel,” it said.

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“These losses included revenue agents and revenue officers who audit returns and perform collection activities; and special agents in the IRS’s criminal investigation organization which investigates tax-related crimes and other issues. These losses directly correlate with a steady decline in the number of individual audits during the past nine years,” it said.

Further, it said it expects up to 31 percent of the current workforce retire within the next five years, “creating a significant risk of a large knowledge and experience gap.”

It also noted that the Taxpayer First Act of 2019 requires the IRS to submit by September 30 a “comprehensive proposal to redesign the organization of the IRS to better support America’s taxpayers,” for what would be the biggest reorganization there since the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998.