by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Becket Adams writes for National Review Online about the federal taxman’s latest developments.
In 2022, when the public learned that the Inflation Reduction Act earmarked an astonishing $80 billion for the Internal Revenue Service, the corporate press insisted everyone remain calm.
The $80 billion provided by President Biden’s massive social-welfare spending legislation would be used only on the other guys, members of the press argued. You know, the millionaires and billionaires. Don’t listen to the critics, advised our commentariat. It’s a conspiracy to think an IRS wealthier by $80 billion will translate into an auditor-hiring binge and an overabundance of scrutiny and red tape for workers and middle-class families. Indeed, credulous newsrooms claimed at the time, the $80 billion will mostly address “workforce attrition.”
On April 7, 2023, Politico scored a scoop: The IRS is on track to grow its workforce to levels not seen since the late 1990s. So much for “workforce attrition.”
“The IRS aims to employ 105,187 workers by 2025, swelling the agency ranks by nearly 50 percent within three years to workforce levels not seen for a quarter-century,” the report says, citing exclusively obtained IRS projections. Commissioner Danny Werfel and the Treasury Department are looking “to transform tax enforcement and administration with a new $80 billion windfall provided last August by Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act.”
The Politico report adds (emphasis mine): “With that extra pot of money alone, the agency plans to bring on around 27,000 new employees by fiscal year 2025.”
The U.S. Treasury estimated in 2021 that an appropriation of $80 billion would enable the IRS to hire up to 87,000 new agents. The IRS’s current hiring projections aren’t quite that high — yet — but increasing the agency’s ranks by “nearly 50 percent” is hefty by any measure.
On another IRS matter, this week CBS News likewise scored a hot scoop: “Starting next year, a new IRS rule will require anyone earning over $600 on payment apps, like Venmo, in 2023 to receive a 1099-K form. The old threshold was earning $20,000 over 200 transactions.”