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Senator Collins Introduces Amendment to Prohibit Hiring 87,000 New IRS Agents Prior to Current IRS Employees Returning to Workplace

The Democrats’ reconciliation bill would make the IRS workforce larger than the number of Pentagon, State Department, FBI employees and Border Patrol agents combined

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins introduced an amendment to the reconciliation bill today that would prevent the IRS from hiring 87,000 new employees until at least 90 percent of its current workforce is back working in the office or at job sites, not teleworking.  The Democrats’ partisan reconciliation bill would provide the IRS with an additional $80 billion to hire up to 87,000 employees, more than doubling the size of the agency and giving the IRS more employees than the number of Pentagon, State Department, and FBI employees as well as Border Patrol agents combined.


“Americans deserve a government that is responsive.  Due in large part to lax telework policies, however, the IRS has consistently failed to provide taxpayers with the service they should expect,” said Senator Collins.  “As a result, tax refunds have been unacceptably delayed, and four out of five phone calls from taxpayers go unanswered.”


“My staff has continued to assist thousands of Mainers with problems involving federal agencies in-person at my six state offices.  One of the most frequent requests that I receive from Mainers is for help with IRS delays because they cannot reach the agency,” Senator Collins continued.  “It is long past time for federal agencies to bring back their employees for in-person operations, which businesses and schools have shown can be done safely.  My amendment would prohibit the IRS from hiring new employees until the agency fully utilizes its existing resources to get back to work.”


In April, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said that 53% of IRS employees were working in a full-time telework capacity.  Additionally, Commissioner Rettig said that for every five phone calls the IRS receives from taxpayers seeking assistance, four go unanswered.


Before the pandemic, the IRS paid refunds from paper returns in four to six weeks.  Now paper refunds are taking six months or longer.  In May, the IRS had 21.3 million unprocessed paper tax returns.  According to the National Taxpayer Advocate's mid-year report, the paper return backlog increased by 1.3 million in one year, despite the IRS promising to improve.

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