Misinformation Abounds on IRS Plan to Spend $80 Billion

The Inflation Reduction Act provides nearly $80 billion in IRS funding over the next ten years. The IRS plans to use some of the funds to hire 87,000 employees.  Many claim the funds will be used to hire an army of auditors dedicated to auditing taxpayers.

Let’s add some perspective to the claims and numbers:

  • The IRS workforce is aging like the rest of the workforce. The agency projects approximately 52,000 employees will retire over the next five years.
  • Between 2010 and 2019, the audit rate for individuals dropped from .90% to .25%, so the chances of being audited are not great. But, it is true the IRS plans to increase the audit rate. Just returning to the 2010 level will require a substantial effort.
  • With poor pay and historically low unemployment nationwide, it’s not very likely the IRS will be able to hire 87,000 quickly, if at all.
  • The IRS is not only behind on processing returns and responding to correspondence but also answering only 11% of phone calls. The IRS workforce has decreased by 17% since 2010. They definitely need more (and better) help.
  • Only 3% of IRS agents are authorized to carry weapons. They are agents assigned to Criminal Investigations unit. Their targets typically include drug dealers, money launderers, etc.
  • The technology used by the IRS is woefully antiquated.

If you’ve received a notice or tried to resolve an issue, you realize how difficult dealing with the IRS has become. The IRS proposes having 5,000 new customer service representatives hired and trained by February 2023.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen tasked the IRS with developing a detailed spending plan which has yet to be produced. Meanwhile, some in Congress are making a push to rescind funding.

Nothing to do but wait and see.