According to Law360, the Internal Revenue Service could add 25,000 positions in the next 18 months if Congress comes through with the money needed t
o expand the workforce, Commissioner Chuck Rettig said.
Increased funding would go toward Rettig's goal of filling positions in all parts of the IRS, he said during a University of Texas School of Law conference held in Austin, Texas.
"We need Congress to pass a budget that's respectful of the agency that interacts with more Americans than anyone else on the planet."
Rettig also reiterated plans for hiring in three groups: recent college and graduate school graduates and individuals with less than five years of experience; people age 35 to 45; and more experienced staff that would coach the other two groups, he said.
Rettig also said the agency is partnering with both a four-year university and a two-year school to create what he called "our own pipeline for job skills," without providing further details on the institutions.
"We're tired of competing with, you know, online retailers for the jobs we need," he said. Rettig has previously pressed for increased funding for the agency.
The federal government, however, is currently operating on stopgap funding legislation that runs through Friday. In July, the House approved a $13.6 billion IRS budget for fiscal year 2022.
Lawmakers are currently working on extending government funding. The Build Back Better Act, the budget reconciliation bill that would provide about $80 billion in funding for the agency, also is pending in the Senate following House approval in November.
Rettig isn't alone among agency officials in touting significant hiring plans should the budget be increased. Sunita Lough, commissioner of the IRS' Tax-Exempt and Government Entities Division, said she plans significant hiring in the event of a budget boost. Andy Keyso, chief of the IRS Independent Office of Appeals, has also said he would continue a hiring push should increased funding come through.
In addition to mentioning hiring plans and the need for increased funding, Rettig said Wednesday that the agency has gone from having more than 16.4 million unprocessed returns in July to 6.8 million as of Nov. 12 and will be "at normal inventory" by the end of 2021.
"We need funding," he said. "People in this country don't deserve to have a large inventory of unprocessed returns."
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