Washington, D.C. – As legislation overhauling the tax code nears completion, Congress should be increasing – not cutting – the Internal Revenue Service budget, National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon wrote in a new letter sent to Capitol Hill.
“The civil servants of the IRS stand ready to implement tax reform legislation and to assist taxpayers, businesses, and the professional tax community, but it is incumbent upon Congress to provide the IRS with the resources necessary to implement any proposed changes to the tax code, to deliver a successful 2018 filing season, and to carry out their core taxpayer service and enforcement mission,” Reardon wrote in a letter delivered Friday to every House member and Senator.
If tax reform is signed into law, the IRS will have to reprogram its computers; develop new regulations and tax forms; educate taxpayers, businesses, and the tax practitioner community so they can understand and comply with new tax laws; respond to what is expected to be a significant increase in taxpayer requests for direct assistance; and train IRS employees. That work is on top of preparations for the upcoming 2018 tax filing season.
“The IRS will be carrying out all of these mandates, as well as their core taxpayer service and enforcement mission, with a reduced budget and workforce that has been decimated in recent years due to budget cuts,” Reardon wrote.
Since 2010, the agency has lost $900 million in funding and now has 21,000 fewer full-time permanent employees. Making matters worse, the House and Senate appropriations bills for 2018 would cut the IRS budget by an additional $155 million and $124 million, respectively.
The IRS is the primary agency responsible for implementing what would be the largest overhaul to the U.S. tax code in 30 years. Last time, in 1986, Congress undertook major tax reform and lawmakers recognized the additional strain on the IRS and increased the agency’s budget in 1987 and 1988 to meet the increased demand from taxpayers and businesses who have to adhere to the changes.
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 32 federal agencies and departments.