This Tax Day, Treasury Department Calls on Congress To Provide More Funds to the IRS

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Today, April 18, is “Tax Day,” the annual filing deadline, and some experts say that it also represents “an inflection point” in what has been the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) most challenging filing season in recent history. In turn, additional funding from Congress is crucially needed, to avoid repeating the agency’s “failures” next season.

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“This is the byproduct of chronic underfunding that has starved the IRS of the tools it needs to serve the American people, coupled with a historic pandemic that introduced new responsibilities alongside mammoth challenges,” Natasha Sarin, deputy assistant secretary for economic policy and counselor for tax policy and implementation, said in a Treasury Department statement on April 18.

Over the last several months, the IRS received 130 million returns from individuals and businesses across the country, collected more than 95% of the revenue that will fund the American government for the next year, and has already disbursed more than $220 billion in refunds and credits to the American people- with tens of millions of Americans getting tax relief as a result of the American Rescue Plan, said Sarin.

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Sarin explained that the IRS knew walking into this filing season that it did not have the workforce or technology in place to serve the American people the way they deserve–to pick up the phones when taxpayers call, to help them access all the credits and benefits to which they are entitled, and to ensure that every taxpayer receives their refund quickly.

While the IRS has a plan in place to get through its backlog of unprocessed returns this year, as long as funding remains insufficient, the system will be at risk of failure and Americans won’t have the kind of service they deserve.

This is why she says that the agency needs more funding from Congress and that “$80 billion over the course of the next decade will finally give the IRS the capacity to modernize and invest in a 21st century workforce.”

 “It will be a fairer and more equitable tax system, with the agency able to collect from top-earning evaders who currently skirt their responsibilities. And it will mean an IRS that is able to serve the American people the way that it wants to, and the way that they deserve,” she said. “These changes will not happen overnight, but meaningful progress can be made swiftly–well in time for next Tax Day, and certainly those beyond.”

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On March 10, the IRS announced it will hire 10,000 new employees and will create a 700-person “surge team” to process new returns, as GOBankingRates previously reported.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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