President Joe Biden wants to hire 86,852 new IRS agents, which would more than double the agency’s workforce.
To put this into perspective:
- With 86,852 IRS agents, you could fill Nationals Park twice
- 86,852 IRS agents is more than the population of Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware which has a population of 70,644.
- 86,852 IRS agents could fill 1.74 Roman Coliseums.
- With 86,852 IRS agents, you could fill the stadiums of Real Salt Lake, Houston Dynamo FC, Los Angeles FC and FC Dallas.
- 86,852 IRS agents would be more than the entire personnel on all 11 U.S. aircraft carriers.
Even Obama-era IRS chief John Koskinen – a longtime advocate of increasing the IRS budget – thinks President Joe Biden’s proposal to increase IRS funding by $80 billion is too much.
As reported by the New York Times:
“I’m not sure you’d be able to efficiently use that much money,” Mr. Koskinen said in an interview. “That’s a lot of money.”
Rather than fix the agency’s longstanding mismanagement, ineptitude and abuse problems, Biden’s approach will make the problem worse.
Numerous watchdog reports have found that the agency’s inability to do its job is due to incompetence, not lack of funding:
- A Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report on the 2021 Filing Season found that almost 40 percent of printers were not working at tax processing centers in Ogden, Utah and Kansas City, Missouri. However, in many cases the only thing wrong with the printers is that no employee had replaced the ink or emptied the waste cartridge container: “IRS employees stated that the only reason they could not use many of these devices is because they are out of ink or because the waste cartridge container is full.”
- This year, despite having funding for new hires, the IRS only achieved 37 percent of their hiring goal. They had trouble onboarding new hires as well, as it was “difficult to find working copiers (as noted previously) to be able to prepare training packages.”
- The National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2018 Annual Report to Congress noted that the IRS was ranked last out of 15 federal agencies in its ability to provide quality communication. The report notes that taxpayers trying to reach the IRS are often “left floundering on the rocks of confusion, frustration, and misinformation.”
- The National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2020 report to Congress noted that the IRS has failed to hire over 5,000 full time employees for which it had allocated funding. This was because of the agency’s disorganization, incompetence, and the existence of labor union rules that promote needless bureaucracy.
- In 2016, the IRS has lost track of laptops containing sensitive taxpayer data. TIGTA estimates that the IRS had failed to properly document the return of 84.2 percent, or more than 1,000 computers due to be returned by contract employees.
- A TIGTA report in 2017 showed that the IRS rehired more than 200 employees who were previously employed by the agency, but fired for previous conduct or performance issues.
- Each year the IRS hangs up on millions of callers — a practice they refer to as “Courtesy Disconnects.” Currently, if you call the IRS, you have a 1-in-50 chance of reaching a human being.
- According to the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2014 Annual Report to Congress the IRS was unable to justify spending decisions. As the report stated: “The IRS lacks a principled basis for making the difficult resource allocation decisions necessitated by today’s tight budget environment.”
- The agency has repeatedly failed to compile legally required tax complexity reports. These reports are supposed to contain the IRS’s specific recommendations on how to make the tax code easier to comply with. Since 1998, the IRS has done so just twice – in 2000 and 2002.
- In 2015, the IRS was spending $1,000 an hour hiring a litigation-only white shoe law firm for an investigation, despite having over 40,000 employees dedicated to enforcement efforts.
- In 2015, the agency has been caught red-handed wasting taxpayer dollars on Nerf footballs, the world’s largest crossword puzzle, extravagant $100 dollar lunches, and more.
The last thing the IRS needs is more power and responsibility. In fact, it is likely that new responsibilities will become overwhelming for the IRS, leading to these new scandals and new cases of taxpayer abuse.
While the IRS continues to blame its poor performance on a lack of taxpayer funding, the real problem is the inability of the agency to competently complete basic tasks and spend taxpayer dollars in a responsible way.