Lankford Asks IRS Commissioner for Staffing Update to Address Backlogs
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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today participated in a Senate Finance Committee hearing to examine the IRS, the President's Fiscal Year 2023 Budget, and the 2022 filing season. Lankford questioned IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to receive an update on hiring processes at the IRS to recruit new agents to serve Americans filing their taxes, answer their questions, and address amended returns, etc. Rettig told Lankford the IRS is benefitting from direct-hiring authority, which Lankford has called for previously, at several facilities, including the Kansas City processing facility, which impacts Oklahoma. Lankford also asked about attrition and how Biden’s vaccine mandate has impacted IRS employees morale and retention.
Lankford joined 100 of his colleagues in a letter to the IRS demanding much needed relief as the agency struggles to address customer service needs and processing issues. Lankford sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IRS Commissioner Rettig to urge the IRS to do everything it can to support taxpayers during the current tax filing season. Lankford also sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Rettig concerning the IRS’s ability to process Americans’ private information in a safe and timely way, and the many troublesome issues facing the agency. Lankford’s letter presses the IRS for answers about the ProPublica data leak, the targeting of religious organizations seeking tax-exempt status, IT security failures, return processing backlogs, and Democrats’ proposed billions in “enforcement” funds and ongoing attempts to force Americans to have their bank accounts tracked by the IRS.
Lankford: You were given direct-hire authority. This has been an issue I’ve talked about in my other committees and in this Committee as well. You’ve been given access for 10,000 of those. But I don’t know yet what positions you’re using those for. I don’t need the exact location of what desk. What’s the type of position that you’re looking for in that direct hiring authority, and how are you using it?...Do you have individuals that are in the processing center or answering phones? Is that in your direct hire authority, or are those not in your direct hiring authority?
Rettig: It is. Where we’re hiring is Kansas City, Austin, and Ogden, and that’s where our three big processing centers are. With direct hiring authority, Congress rescued us. There’s no question about it. We are able to onboard folks in those facilities within 30 to 45 days. We needed them in December, but without direct hiring authority we’re competing with Wal Mart, we’re competing with Target—which is onboarding at $20 an hour, our folks are at $15. And we’re competing with Amazon. And then, without direct hiring authority, we have to tell these individuals, it may be six to eight months before we can bring you onboard. For these folks, they need that job now.
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