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IRS Commissioner Says That 2024 Hiring Efforts Shifting to Examination

IRS Commissioner Says That 2024 Hiring Efforts Shifting to Examination

In 2023, the first full year funding from the Inflation Reduction Act (PL 117-169) became available to the IRS, the agency focused on hiring customer service representatives now, there is a shift towards onboarding new examination staff, according to the head of the agency.

Speaking on June 13, 2024 at a joint conference hosted by the IRS and the Tax Policy Center, IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said Inflation Reduction Act funds in fiscal year 2024 are not only bringing in new auditors and lawyers, but also data scientists, engineers, and industry subject matter experts, including those in the digital asset space.

Calling Hiring A "Multi-Pronged Effort," This Wave Is
Centered Around Increasing Scrutiny On Those On
The IRS' "High Risk" List, Including Tax Delinquent Millionaires, Non-Filers, And Complex Partnerships
Seeking To Avoid Tax Exposure.

Due to years of underfunding, IRS audit rates of large corporations and multimillionaires fell between 2010 and 2021. Overall staffing in the agency’s compliance offices declined 30% during that time.

The Agency's Efforts Have so Far Recovered
$520 Million from Millionaires Who Have Either
Not Filed Their Taxes or Failed to Pay Their Tax Debt.

Through a combination of increasing compliance staff and recently announced targeted enforcement campaigns against high-risk taxpayers making over $400,000 a year, the IRS can demonstrate "that this is a positive return on investment" by closing the overall gap between taxes owed and taxes paid, Werfel said of the inflation bill's funds.

He added that investments in artificial intelligence will assist in audit selection and recognizing areas "where tax evasion is occurring," such as transfer pricing, using "much more sophisticated analytics."

Providing Context On Why Expanding The IRS Workforce
Is Necessary, Werfel Said That Before The Enactment Of
The Inflation Reduction Act, The Agency's Staff Size
"Was Roughly The Same As It Was In The Late 70s."

Continuing, he mentioned that leaders of other countries' tax authorities have commented to him about "how small the IRS is on a per capita basis compared to the other nations."

Since 2022, the IRS has added about 11,000 full-time positions, including staff working on audits as well as those tasked with customer service and other jobs. The agency plans to add an additional 14,000 full-time positions with funding from the Inflation Reduction Act by fiscal year 2029. Some new hires will be replacing people retiring or leaving. The increases would bring the number of total IRS employees to 102,500, Werfel said.

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