By Bernie Becker - 01/30/13 06:37 PM EST
The IRS is doing a better job at getting new employees on board quickly, a new federal audit has found.
The Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration found that the IRS has almost met the goal, set by the Office of Personnel Management, to bring on new hires in 80 days or less.
By contrast, the agency said in 2009 that it was taking an average of 157 days – or roughly five months – to hire staffers.
“They will need to continue to focus on keeping hiring timelines low and making additional improvements,” the report said. “If not, as the economy improves and the IRS competes more with the private sector, the IRS may encounter difficulties attracting highly qualified candidates.”
Democrats and Republicans have argued over the IRS budget in recent years, with IRS officials and advocates for the service saying that cutting staffers hurts the government’s ability to collect revenue and is self-defeating.
But some Republicans have said that, historically, increases in the IRS budget have not led to more efficient revenue collection.
As the inspector general report notes, the IRS currently faces a hiring freeze, though it generally brings on thousands of new employees a year to help manage the tax filing season. The agency has roughly 100,000 employees in all.
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