Personnel issues ranging from operating the agency during a pandemic to threats against employees are among the major challenges facing IRS management, an IG report has said.
The pandemic “has dramatically impacted the IRS and the taxpayers that it serves” by disrupting agency operations at the same time that several changes in tax laws added new responsibilities for the agency, it said. “To address this challenge, the IRS has implemented laws and taken action to provide relief to taxpayers experiencing financial hardship and to protect the health of its employees.”
The report also cited “threats and assaults directed at IRS employees, facilities, and infrastructure . . . Recent incidents involving taxpayers who threatened or assaulted IRS employees underscore the dangers that these employees face each day. In August 2020, a taxpayer was indicted for making an online bomb threat directed at an IRS facility in New York. If convicted, the taxpayer could face 10 years’ imprisonment, followed by a period of supervised release.”
IRS employees also continue to be impersonated in scams in which victims have received unsolicited telephone calls from individuals falsely claiming to be IRS or Department of the Treasury employees and threatening them with arrest, deportation, and license revocation if the victim does not pay a bogus tax bill.
Meanwhile, “new fraud patterns are constantly evolving and, as such, the IRS needs to adapt its detection and prevention processes.”
Other top challenges, as in past years, include enhancing security of data, improving customer service, modernizing technology, protecting taxpayer rights, and more.