Will the 87,000 New IRS Employees Actually Go After the Middle Class?

TaxBuzz

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 includes nearly $80 billion in funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), leading to the hiring of 87,0000 new employees.

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The provision was backed by Fred Goldberg, who headed the agency under former President George H. W. Bush, President Bill Clinton's IRS head, Charles Rossotti, and John Koskinen, who led the IRS under the President Barack Obama administration. The trio issued a signed statement signifying their support.

Per The Hill, the trio are concerned about the tax agency's current state, believing that it could be dramatically improved should new potential laws go into effect:

In the statement, the former commissioners bemoaned what they described as “the status quo” at the IRS, saying the agency “has shrunk to 1970s levels with technological infrastructure that is decades out-of-date and an audit rate that has dropped by 50 percent."

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Ostensibly, the new funding will allow the IRS to go after high net-worth tax evaders, like the late billionaire Robert Brockman.

However, many are concerned that the 87,000 new IRS employees who will be hired with a portion of the $80 billion funding increase will go after small business owners and middle-class Americans.

An NBC Report noted, “Our biggest worry in this is that the burden for these audits will land on Walmart shoppers,” Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said Tuesday, August 9 on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

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TIME Magazine, however, refuted this fear, noting that the official language in the Inflation Reduction Act does not just callf or the IRS to hire agents, but also information technology (IT) professionals and other workers who can help improve the agency's infrastructure from the ground up.

Per TIME's recent fact check:

According to a Treasury Department official, the funds would cover a wide range of positions including IT technicians and taxpayer services support staff, as well as experienced auditors who would be largely tasked with cracking down on corporate and high-income tax evaders.

“It is wholly inaccurate to describe any of these resources as being about increasing audit scrutiny of the middle class or small businesses,” Natasha Sarin, a counselor for tax policy and implementation at the Treasury Department, tells TIME.

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It is also worth noting that over half of the IRS's existing auditors are eligible to retire within the next five years, so certain positions will have to be filled -- this does not, however, mean that the IRS is adding significantly more auditing agents.

Only time will ultimately tell what impact this $80 billion IRS funding boon has the American people, but the department has promised positive changes to taxpayer services over the next five years.

What do you think about the IRS's new funding increase?

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