NTEU Welcomes IRS Reforms that Focus on Improved Taxpayer Services

Press Release January 11, 2021

Washington D.C. – The IRS plan for implementing the Taxpayer First Act is a broad, ambitious roadmap that, if given adequate funding and resources, would modernize the agency, empower employees through more advanced training and improve taxpayer services for all Americans.

The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents about 70,000 frontline IRS employees around the country, on Monday welcomed the agency’s blueprint for massive upgrades in technology, advanced customer service platforms and a more strategic and responsive organizational structure.

“In passing the Taxpayer First Act, Congress wisely recognized the need for the IRS to upgrade nearly every aspect of tax code enforcement and administration, and that process took an important step today with the release of the agency’s long-term reorganization plan,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “Frontline IRS employees, who are represented by NTEU, are committed to the agency’s mission of providing excellent customer service and we are glad to see that conversation started in earnest with the release of the IRS plan.”

After consulting with IRS employees around the country, NTEU last year submitted recommendations for implementing the Taxpayer First Act, many of which are reflected in the IRS report delivered today to Congress.

“One of our top priorities was to ensure that every employee has a meaningful role to play in delivering the IRS mission, the best possible training and tools available to fulfill those roles, and enhanced career advancement opportunities,” Reardon said. “While additional details still must be worked out, we believe those are achievable through the reforms announced today.”

NTEU is urging the IRS that once the pandemic subsides, employee training should resume with in-person, interactive programs as much as possible.

“We are concerned that the blueprint relies too heavily on electronic, non-interactive training platforms, which employees have found to be less effective, especially when dealing with complex tax subjects,” Reardon said.

Also, the intense focus on the Taxpayer First Act should not detract the IRS or Congress from the addressing the continuing threat to our voluntary tax system, which is non-compliance by wealthy individuals and large companies. NTEU will keep fighting for additional hiring to make up for the 33,000 employees lost between 2010 and 2020, especially in the area of tax enforcement.

With an average net tax gap of $381 billion, the IRS cannot lose sight of the importance of collecting the revenue that is rightfully owed and giving all Americans more confidence that the system is enforced fairly, Reardon said.

“NTEU looks forward to working with the IRS to make sure these ambitious Taxpayer First Act plans are given adequate, multi-year funding by Congress and are implemented in way that benefits taxpayers and employees alike,” Reardon said.

NTEU represents employees in 33 federal agencies and departments.