The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced a plan Thursday to hire 10,000 workers to reduce a backlog in unprocessed filings and correspondence, according to the Associated Press.
The IRS will hire 10,000 workers to process the backlog of millions of filings, the Treasury Department said in a press release. The agency aims to fill 5,000 open positions in the coming months and another 5,000 new hires over the next year, according to the release.
“IRS employees have been working tirelessly to process backlogged returns and taxpayer correspondence,” IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said, according to the release. “To ensure inventory is back to a healthy level for next filing season, we are leaving no stone unturned—taking an all- hands-on-deck approach to ensure as many employees as possible are dedicating time to return processing.”
“This includes bringing on new employees and reassigning current IRS employees to process inventory,” Rettig said, according to the release.
The IRS said it has been underfunded for over a decade, according to the release, with its budget reportedly cut by nearly 20%. Additionally, the agency said pandemic-related payments totaling $830 billion to 85% of American household put pressure on an underfunded and under-employed agency, according to the release.
The agency’s backlog as it enters filing season is over 15 times larger than in a typical year, the press release said. The agency has the same size workforce that it did in 1970 despite U.S. population growth since that time, according to the press release.
Congress passed a $1.5 trillion omnibus package, released on Wednesday, which would allocate $14.3 billion to the Treasury Department, including $12.6 directed to the IRS, the Associated Press reported. This funding would reportedly be the largest increase for the IRS since 2001.
The IRS processed over 240 million tax returns and issued almost $736 billion in refunds during the 2020 budget year, according to the agency’s website. During the same time period, 59.5 million people reportedly visited or called the IRS.
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