NTEU Supports Increased Investment in IRS Workforce and Operations

Press Release November 4, 2021

Washington D.C. – The 10-year, $79 billion investment in the IRS within the Build Back Better plan would equip the agency with the people and the resources it needs to catch tax cheats, reduce the deficit and provide world-class customer service to American taxpayers.  

“The National Treasury Employees Union strongly supports the financial commitment to revitalizing the IRS after a decade of downsizing and budget slashing,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “Every new dollar invested in the IRS and its workforce is going to pay dividends by improving compliance and collecting every dime that is rightfully owed under the law.”  

Overall funding for the IRS decreased more than 22 percent on an inflation-adjusted basis since 2010, and resulted in the loss of 15,000 employees, including many frontline enforcement personnel like revenue agents and officers. The damage was stark, including explosive growth in the tax gap, which is the agency’s estimate of taxes owed but not collected. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig testified it may be more than $1 trillion per year, a shocking number that has motivated Republicans and Democrats to rally for more agency funding.  

The Biden administration has estimated that the 10-year investment will allow the agency to hire 86,000 employees, which is critical because at least 50,000 current employees are expected to be lost through attrition and retirement in the next six years.  

“The IRS workforce is to be commended for shouldering a greater workload with fewer people these last 10 years, especially with the new responsibilities it has taken on. This plan to rebuild the agency with additional manpower and updated technology is a morale-boosting vote of confidence in its ability to fully and fairly enforce every inch of the tax code,” Reardon said. “IRS employees are up to the challenge.”  

Through 2031, the Build Back Better plan would add $44.9 billion to IRS enforcement activities; $27.4 billion for operations support; $4.7 billion for business systems modernization; and $1.9 billion toward taxpayer services.  

With the increased investment, the agency can ramp up its auditing work on especially complex investigations, large corporations, partnerships and global high-wealth individuals. The plan also wisely recognizes that providing even more well-trained, professional civil servants to answer questions from hard-working Americans who are trying to comply with the law builds trust that the entire tax system is working fairly for everyone.  

This additional funding is expected to generate more than $400 billion in tax revenue over the course of the next decade. 

NTEU represents about 150,000 employees in 34 federal agencies and departments.