IRS needs more HR flexibility, capacity

IRS Has the Funding to Hire Tens of Thousands. Can It Actually Do So?

IRS hiring has been thrust into the spotlight, but augmenting the agency’s workforce is still far from guaranteed.

When Senate Democrats first unveiled their agreement to invest in climate change solutions and health care reforms while tweaking the tax code, the massive $80 billion funding surge for the Internal Revenue Service was coupled with special hiring and pay authorities to allow the agency to quickly onboard a slew of new workers. 

Due to arcane Senate procedures, however, that language was stripped from the bill before it passed and President Biden signed it into law. 

The change went largely unnoticed, but the analysts at the Congressional Budget Office found it could have a dramatic impact: they lowered their projection of the new revenue IRS would bring in over the next 10 years by $23 billion. The reason, CBO said, was the Inflation Reduction Act no longer containing personnel flexibilities “will cause the IRS to hire new personnel more slowly and could make hiring experienced candidates more difficult.” With IRS less able to hire quickly, to hire mid-career staff as planned and, potentially, to meet its hiring goals at all, the agency will collect less money. 

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