In response to claims made by Republicans that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will hire 87,000 new agents to harass Americans about their taxes, officials from the United States Treasury and tax experts have stated that new hires at the IRS over the next decade will primarily serve to replace retiring Baby Boomers, answer taxpayer questions, and programme new computers. These statements were made in response to Republican claims.
After a decade of budget cuts for the IRS that were imposed by Republicans in Congress, the agency will have 16,000 fewer personnel in 2021 than it did in 2010, according to the attack commercials and social media messaging that the Republicans have been posting. This agency is in charge of collecting the majority of the over $5 trillion in annual revenue that the United States generates.
Republicans, including the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, have continued to criticise the funding for the Internal Revenue Service on social media, days after President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $80 billion in new funding for the IRS over 10 years.
“I think it was basically a middle finger to the American public that this is what they think of you,” DeSantis said during a news conference on Wednesday. “I think it was a middle finger to the American public that they think of you.”
“All of the issues that we are currently facing, and they think the solution is to hire 87,000 additional IRS agents.”
Kevin McCarthy, the most senior Republican member of the House of Representatives, has claimed that Democrats intend to create an “army of 87,000 IRS officers.” This number is greater than the population of Scranton, Pennsylvania, which is Joe Biden’s hometown.
Others, such as Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Green, have stated on multiple occasions that 87,000 of the new agents will be armed.
According to the findings of a fact check conducted by Reuters, the Criminal Investigation branch of the IRS only permits 2,100 of its special agents to carry firearms.
There is a record of 87,000 people, but it is buried deep within a report that was produced by the Treasury Department in May of 2021.
At the time, the Biden administration was attempting to pass a larger spending bill with the same $80 billion IRS funding. According to the findings of the research, the money may provide funding for 86,852 full-time positions through the year 2031.
According to Natasha Sarin, a Treasury counsellor for tax policy and administration, the actual net gain in staff would be much lower than the projected number because the IRS anticipates more than 50,000 employees will retire over the next five years alone.
According to Sarin, who spoke to Reuters, claims that all 87,000 will be auditors, criminal enforcement officers, or armed is “very hazardous nonsense,” and they are also incorrect.
Because many wealthy tax evaders stand to lose a lot, “the speed and voracity with which (Republicans) are coming at this is really a testament to how important these resources are going to be,” said Sarin.
“The speed and voracity with which (Republicans) are coming at this is really a testament to how important these resources are going to be.”
By cracking down on tax evasion by the wealthy, particularly those with murky income sources, the extra resources are intended to help close an estimated yearly “tax gap” of $600 billion, which refers to taxes that are owed but not paid.
According to estimates provided by the Congressional Budget Office, the funding would result in an increase in federal revenues by $204 billion over ten years. This would be a significant contribution to both climate and healthcare spending.
This week, United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen gave the direction to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to produce a spending and hiring plan for $80 billion within six months, but she did not ask him to increase scrutiny on individuals earning less than $400,000. continue reading
Sarin did not provide any information regarding the number of revenue agents the IRS plans to hire, even though this job category had 8,321 occupants in the fiscal year 2021.
MAKING THE IRS MORE LIKE ONLINE BANKING
To compensate for employee turnover, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is planning to hire tens of thousands of new customer service representatives and information technology specialists.
According to what she claimed, this personnel would develop technological tools that will identify more high-end audit targets and deliver a consumer experience that is comparable to that of online banking.
“We’ll have an Internal Revenue Service that can provide the kind of service that the people of the United States deserve. That implies, for instance, that the Internal Revenue Service should be able to answer calls, “Sarin added.
Treasury’s assertion that many of the new hires would replace retirees was disputed by Representative Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.
Representative Brady’s office said on Twitter that they were disputing Treasury’s assertion “They can be replaced using the available funds. All of these are brand new.”
According to Sarin, the Internal Revenue Service is looking for individuals in the middle of their careers who have experience in accounting and, frequently, tax law. These individuals are needed to target wealthy taxpayers and handle complex audits.
It will be difficult for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to compete with the private sector for experienced employees in a tight labour market, according to Janet Holtzblatt, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, a think tank in Washington.
Holtzblatt said this is because the IRS has salary limitations based on federal pay scales, making it difficult for the IRS to compete with the private sector.
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According to Holtzblatt, “From the standpoint of the IRS, one area where they might be able to compete is by providing a higher quality of life for their employees.” This entails a greater degree of job stability, health care provided by the government, pension benefits, and regular working hours.