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Long-awaited plan does not meet Yellen’s requirements for detailed numbers over the decade

Tax journalists noted the lack of detail in the IRS plan released Thursday. The report was 48 days late and released on an afternoon going into a holiday weekend, an indication the IRS knew they were turning in shoddy homework.

The report does not comply with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s formal request to provide detailed spending numbers for the full decade.

Yellen’s formal memo of Aug. 17, 2022 stated:

This operational plan should include details on how resources will be spent over the ten-year horizon on technology, service improvement, and personnel.

That’s not what was delivered. And tax journalists noticed.

The unofficial dean of beltway tax reporters — WSJ’s Richard Rubinnoted:

The plan doesn’t provide a detailed spending breakdown of the $80 billion over the next decade. And unlike a 2021 Treasury Department plan that projected 87,000 new hires, the latest version doesn’t include a staffing forecast beyond fiscal year 2024.

POLITICO’s Ben Guggenheim also noted the lack of detail.

Excerpts below:

[The plan] left a long list of questions unanswered, which is bound to aggravate lawmakers.”

“But the vaguely worded report, which was delivered more than a month later than the deadline Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen set, answered few of the questions that lawmakers have been lobbing at Yellen and IRS officials for months about specific budget forecasts and department hiring.”

However, the IRS did not provide essential information sought by lawmakers on the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees, such as how many employees the agency would like to hire long term for enforcement; how exactly the IRS will comply with a pledge by Yellen not to increase audits on those making less than $400,000; and what the agency forecasts to spend on operations, enforcement and customer service from fiscal years 2025 through 2031.

Longtime Forbes tax columnist Kelly Phillips Erb wrote:

surprisingly scant on numbers.”

“there will be those who are disappointed with the plan, including the lack of specific dollars and numbers.”

NYT’s Alan Rappeport wrote:

The plan lays out benchmarks for many of its goals, but it leaves unanswered questions.

Roll Call’s Laura Weiss wrote:

It’s also unclear exactly what the IRS plans to spend on various objectives.

AP’s Fatima Hussein wrote:

The strategic plan does not include final numbers on long-term hiring.”

See also:

Beware of IRS Happy Talk About Improved Technology

If the IRS Wants to “Crack down on the wealthy” They Can Start by Closing the Biden Tax Gap

IRS on Track to Hire 87,000 Over the Decade

Biden’s IRS will hire more IRS employees in next two years than the entire current number of border patrol agents

IRS $80 Billion News Dump Raises Questions