With tax return backlog and millions of taxpayers waiting for refunds, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced a plan to hire 5,000 new staff. This poses a challenge due to the stiff hiring competition and a tight job market.
IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig stated, "We expect to fill that 5,000 shortly. We are having quite a bit of success in our job fairs."
The IRS has conducted job fairs in many cities. IRS managers have been given permission to make immediate job offers to people who interview for positions. The on–the–spot job offers have been made to approximately 90% of interviewees. The IRS has made over 2,500 conditional job offers to date. These jobs generally pay from the low to mid $20,000s to the high $40,000s range. The IRS hopes to hire 5,000 individuals in 2022 and 5,000 additional staff in 2023.
Commissioner Rettig stated that the normal hiring process can take several months. However, with the job fairs and new on–the–spot job offers, a new staff member may be at the IRS within 30 to 45 days.
This flexibility is particularly important because the IRS has a pressing need to process returns. By late March, there still were 7.2 million unprocessed paper tax returns. Unfortunately, 2.7 million of the unprocessed returns had been received a year ago. In addition, there will be an avalanche of new returns by the April 18, 2022 filing date.
As of April 1, the IRS had processed 89 million tax returns and issued 63 million refunds. The refunds totaled more than $200 billion. The average refund is $3,263. This large refund is an important benefit for many individuals.
Some businesses with unprocessed tax returns have had problems with financing. These businesses are not able to obtain loans because they cannot provide tax return information to their bank.
New IRS staff will help process returns and provide phone support. The IRS is continuing to struggle this year with a shortfall in customer service staff to provide prompt phone answers to taxpayer questions.
IRS Commissioner Rettig concluded, "Our efforts are working. We are trending in the right direction. During the summer, you will start seeing the impact of this."
Editor's Note: The new hires will not be trained in time to solve taxpayer problems by April 18, 2022. However, this is a positive step that should enable the IRS to provide better taxpayer support in the future. Some taxpayers who cannot receive IRS support by April 18 will need to file an extension until October 15, 2022.