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60% of New IRS Hires Will Cover Predicted Staff Replacement Needs

Kristi Noem is participating in the Republican spin cycle trying to portray the restoration of Internal Revenue Service funding as a way to sic 87,000 new tax auditors on small businesses. But the new climate change/health care/deficit reduction plan that Democrats are passing will not create 87,000 new employees at the IRS. Most of the 87,000 positions the funding may support will maintain current staffing:

The Republican National Committee and several Republican lawmakers have criticized the new IRS funding, claiming that it will provide the agency with an “army of 87,000 new IRS agents.”

But that number is misleading. The Treasury Department did estimate in 2021 that a nearly $80 billion investment in the IRS could allow the agency to hire 86,852 full-time employees over the course of a decade. But that figure accounts for all workers, not solely enforcement agents.

Still, hiring more than 86,000 workers over 10 years could be a huge increase for the IRS, which currently has nearly 80,000 employees. But the number of IRS staff has declined over the past decade, currently standing at 1970s levels, and the agency is expected to keep losing people.

Earlier this year, [Trump-appointed IRS Commissioner Charles] Rettig told lawmakers that the IRS would need to hire 52,000 people over the next six years just to maintain current staffing levels to replace those who retire or otherwise leave.

The Inflation Reduction Act does not instruct the IRS to hire a certain number of enforcement agents, and the agency would need to decide on staffing plans [Katie Lobosco, “The IRS Is Set to Get Billions for Audit Enforcement. Here’s What It Means for Taxpayers,” CNN, 2022.08.11].

The bill Democrats are passing will not hire 87,000 new IRS agents coming to audit small businesses. Republican claims to the contrary are false.


  1. Francis Schaffer 2022-08-12 10:17

    is the outrage because some are cheating on their taxes?

  2. mike from iowa 2022-08-12 10:45

    Magats spread false info? I don’t believe it.

  3. jerry 2022-08-12 10:52

    I wonder how republicans think things like the military can be funded without taxes. How about their salary’s? How to keep the lights on? You know, stuff even small children ask about. They really are the party of Timothy Mcveigh.

  4. O 2022-08-12 11:46

    Apparently outrage for funding or defunding the police/law enforcement is dependent on who that specific agency enforces law upon? Law and order — for the other guy.

    Francis makes the same point that I want to: the tac code is not changing. If people would pay more, it is because they are cheating now and not following the law. Mo money means mo deductions means mo “interpretation” of tax code. As the right is so fond of saying, people have nothing to worry about if they have done nothing wrong.

  5. Jake 2022-08-12 14:01

    Way back in Teddy Roosevelt’s term, Republicans done their damnedest to eliminate the Forest Service through cutting funding way back-to the point where the disastrous fires of the “Big Burn” on the Continental divide in Idaho/Washington destroyed so many forests and cost so many lives and burnt towns. They fought Roosevelt tooth and nail wanting to give our National lands up to corporate interests to exploit commercially instead of what we currently have in the way of National Treasure held in trust for all of US citizens equally.
    I remember Newt Gingrich bragging about letting agency’s “dry up on the vine” and today, any move by Democrats to fund agency’s to allow them to do their jobs get a “no” vote from Repubs!

    Quite simply, in today’s political climate, if the Democrats try to do something the American people are desiring-the Republicans are automatically against said measure because of fear that Americans will throw them out on the ears!

  6. WillyNilly 2022-08-12 14:37

    I’m retired but if I weren’t, I would love to examine rich people’s taxes.

  7. mike from iowa 2022-08-12 17:03

    iowa’s assclown sinator, Chuck “grudzilla” Grassley says IRS agents armed with AR 15s will soon be raiding small businesses. This POS is older than sin and needs to be removed from power with the rest of the magats and grudzillas of the world.

  8. mike from iowa 2022-08-12 17:21

    WillyNilly, sorry for OT post, but, there be good news for all Social Security drawers….

    A 9.6% adjustment would compare with an increase of 5.9% last year, which equated to a monthly average earnings bump of $92.30.

    Thanks to high inflation.

  9. grudznick 2022-08-13 14:08

    These 87,000 tax goons, of which 1,740 will be deployed to South Dakota, should fairly enforce the tax code upon those fellows making $40,000 and those fellows maki g $400,000. All must be equal.

  10. larry kurtz 2022-08-13 18:54

    In other words, ill-gotten money in South Dakota banks and trusts:

    ProPublica found that the audit rate for those who make less than $20,000 a year and those who make between $200,000 and $500,000 a year is now equal. In April, the news organization reported that the most heavily audited county in the United States isn’t one that includes the swanky mansions of Beverly Hills or the high-rise penthouses of Midtown Manhattan. As usual, the biggest winners from a hamstrung IRS are wealthy Americans and cash-flush corporations.

  11. leslie 2022-08-15 08:50

    The House on Friday passed the Inflation Reduction Act, sending Democrats’ long-sought climate, tax, and health care bill to President Biden’s desk. ***

    The painful paring down of a $6 trillion vision, to a $3.5 Build Back Better blueprint, to a $2 trillion Build Back Better bill that could pass the House, to—finally—a $400+ billion climate and deficit reduction bill that could pass Congress was essentially the process of aligning Democrats’ campaign ambitions with the reality of its meager majorities. (Rising inflation didn’t help, either.) It took some time, but Democrats finally passed the most they could’ve gotten with 50 Senate votes. They could’ve gotten more with 51.

    Manchin is an anomaly in U.S. politics. As a Democrat from the Mountain State, where Donald Trump won in 2020 by 39 points, nobody else in the Senate has been so successful at outperforming their own party. Had Manchin not pulled off the unlikely miracle of holding that seat in 2018, Mitch McConnell would likely still be majority leader, and we wouldn’t be talking about any kind of major climate legislation today. The tradeoff was that the final bill had to be something Manchin could bring home to West Virginia, where fossil fuels still rule. —Jordan Weissmann

    Joe Biden logged hundreds of hours in the first year of his presidency arbitrating legislative disputes between moderates and progressives on matters big and small. He chatted up and charmed key individual senators and members of Congress in the Oval Office. He made trips to Capitol Hill basements and lunch rooms to rally the troops ahead of key steps. He endorsed many a specific strategic pathway. What all of this working-the-room got him on his Build Back Better plan by the end of 2021 was: Nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true: He got a little humiliation.

    Democrats in Congress knew this was probably their last legislative window for a while. That informed the whole process. It’s why they tried to stuff the bill with so much at first. It’s why they anchored it with a climate plan, knowing this could be their last best chance to address climate change legislatively before the Earth fries up. It’s why they were intent on resurrecting the plan following the humiliations of last fall, and it’s why legislating permanent climate policy was the centerpiece of what they retained. This particular bill got done because it had to. Now there’s an off-chance they’ll be pleasantly surprised by how November goes. —Jim Newell

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-18 16:56

    One reader asked if the phrase “new hires” meant real new hires, not including replacements for projected turnover. But the Treasury Department is saying pretty clearly the IRS will not be hiring 87,000 new agents on top of existing staff levels:

    The Internal Revenue Service does not plan to use the nearly $80 billion it’s set to receive in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act to hire 87,000 new agents in order to target middle class Americans, a Treasury Department official told ABC News and documents verify, rejecting a claim widely circulated by Republican lawmakers and right-wing media personalities.

    A sizable portion of the money will go toward improving taxpayer services and modernizing antiquated, paper-based IRS operations, according to Treasury and the IRS, in an effort to update an agency well documented as being chronically starved of resources for decades.

    In a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that the agency also is planning on hiring auditors who can enforce the tax laws against high-income Americans and corporations, not the middle class, along with employees to provide customer service to taxpayers. The majority of hires will fill the positions of about 50,000 IRS employees on the verge of retirement, which will net about 20 to 30-thousand workers, not 87,000 [Isabella Murray, “Treasury Department Rejects GOP Claims on New IRS Agents,” ABC News, 2022.08.18].

    Not that the IRS couldn’t use the help….

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