Washington, D.C. – Executive Director Chad Hooper of the Professional Managers Association (PMA) – formed in 1981 by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Managers as a national membership association representing the interests of professional managers, management officials and non-bargaining unit employees in the federal government and within the IRS – released the following statement regarding Tax Day 2022:
“We will be honest; this tax season was tough. The IRS continues to battle a backlog of over 2.4 million individual returns from 2021. IRS employees are struggling to manage a technology system older than most of the workforce – operating for its 61st consecutive filing season. And of course, taxpayers are struggling to get an IRS representative on the phone to answer basic questions. To address the dearth of taxpayer services, the IRS launched a hiring initiative last year aiming to bring on 5,000 new employees for this filing season. The initiative brought in 180 new hires. The IRS is now reshuffling employees and midway through a new effort to hire 5,000 people to address the backlog and respond to taxpayer concerns, but there is no two ways about it: this filing season has been fraught with frustration for all parties,” Hooper stated.
“I imagine it will only be a matter of time before Congress returns to blaming the IRS for the tax season’s challenges, delays, and other stressors. But let’s be clear: the issues at the IRS are the not fault of our members or individual employees, but the result of a systemic and intentional depletion of IRS resources and capacity,” Hooper furthered.
“The best thing we can do this Tax Day, is look ahead. Congress can, and should, take vital steps today to prevent the next tax season from being just like this one and the last. Congress must get ahead of the FY 2023 appropriations process and adequately fund the IRS on time. There are two parts to this request: (1) fund the IRS adequately and (2) fund the IRS on time. For FY 2022, Congress did the first part, and PMA praised the historic, bipartisan investment in the Service. But Congress did their job five months late,” Hooper furthered.
“Each time Congress stalls appropriations, it forces the IRS into a continuing resolution (CR) state. While the IRS is teetering between CRs and threatened shutdowns, it impedes long-term planning, delays IT modernization, and stifles hiring. Congress puts agencies in an annual state of limbo to bicker over appropriations details, only to eventually fund agencies at levels we can anticipate. This year, Congress should cut the drama, compromise early, and pass appropriations. It is necessary for the functioning of our government,” Hooper said.
“If Congress determines it is unable to execute its power of the purse on time, we propose Congress provide the IRS dedicated, multi-year funding for IT modernization. The IRS is the largest revenue source for the federal government – simply put, we fund freedom. Yet, the IRS’s aging IT infrastructure is in a dire state. There is not a single federal lawmaker who has been working for 61 years – there should not be an IT system that has been working for that long without modernization. Our nation should not rely on technology that predates Hawaii statehood, the Berlin Wall, and the Space Needle,” Hooper explained. “Dedicated, multi-year funding for IT modernization would allow the Service to take consistent steps toward improvement isolated from Congress’ political posturing.”
“While frustrations remain high this Tax Day, it is our hope Congress can channel these frustrations into action. Only with real commitment to fixing the broken appropriations process or, at the very least, insulating IRS IT modernization funding from its grasp, will we see substantial improvements in taxpayer service. Congress took solid steps in FY 2022, but more is needed to prevent a repeat of this tax season. Our members and the taxpayers they serve deserve better,” Hooper concluded.