House Passage of Build Back Better Signals a New Day for the IRS

Press Release November 19, 2021

Washington D.C. – After a decade of underfunding the nation’s tax system, the House of Representatives has approved legislation that will provide a dramatic and welcome infusion of resources into the Internal Revenue Service. 

The House approval of the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376) includes mandatory funding for the IRS of roughly $80 billion over the next 10 years. NTEU urges the Senate to quickly follow the House’s action and approve this bill.

“NTEU welcomes this dedicated stream of resources that will allow the IRS to begin rebuilding after years of budget cuts,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “This marks a new day for an agency that has struggled for far too long.”

The funding, which gradually ramps up each year, would facilitate the hiring and training of more than 86,000 employees, an important development to increase the workforce and replace tens of thousands of employees expected to leave the IRS through retirements and attrition. Overall funding for the IRS has decreased more than 22 percent since FY 2010, resulting in the loss of 15,000 employees between 2010 and 2020, including many frontline enforcement personnel.

“Staffing cuts have seriously impaired the ability of the IRS to provide assistance to taxpayers and go after tax cheats,” Reardon said. “It is time to restore the IRS to a world-class institution and reestablish the faith of American taxpayers in a tax system that is fair to all.”

The mandatory stream of funding is expected to generate billions in tax revenue and should help IRS employees in shrinking a growing tax gap that the IRS Commissioner said could reach $1 trillion a year.

The Build Back Better Act includes a paid family leave program that would provide partial wage replacement for up to four weeks of leave a year. This would assist full and part-time workers in the public and private sectors in caring for themselves or sick family members without seeing their paychecks dwindle to zero. This builds on the paid parental leave benefit for federal employees that was implemented a year ago.

“No employee, in the federal government or elsewhere, should ever have to shoulder the burden of lost wages when dealing with a family medical crisis,” said Reardon.

Up to $250 in union dues will be tax deductible under this legislation which is important recognition of the role of collective bargaining in protecting and advocating for America’s workers.

NTEU represents federal employees in 34 federal agencies and departments.