Union pushes for more IRS funding ahead of tax-filing season

Union pushes for more IRS funding ahead of tax-filing season
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The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), which represents about 70,000 IRS employees, on Thursday issued a call for more funding for the agency, as the tax-filing season is set to begin on Monday.

“Make no mistake, IRS employees are committed to delivering a smooth, successful filing season and helping individuals and businesses file quickly and correctly, but that job, once again, will be difficult this year,” NTEU National President Tony Reardon said in a news release.

The IRS's budget declined by 20.4 percent from fiscal 2010 to fiscal 2019 after adjusting for inflation, according to a report issued by acting National Taxpayer Advocate Bridget Roberts earlier this month. The number of IRS employees also declined by more than 20 percent during that time period.

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Many of the budget cuts coincided with Republicans' anger at the IRS after a 2013 inspector general report found that the agency had subjected conservative groups' applications for tax-exempt status to extra scrutiny and delays.

The National Taxpayer Advocate and other government watchdogs have argued that the budget cuts make it more challenging for the IRS to provide high-quality service for taxpayers and have led to weakened IRS enforcement.

“At the dawn of the 2020 filing season, we hope the administration and Congress take note of the hard, government data documenting the damage these constant budget cuts have caused,” Reardon said. “The good news is that an influx of funding and staffing can spark an almost immediate improvement in customer service.”

NTEU said it will push Congress for more funding as lawmakers start to consider appropriations for fiscal 2021. While the IRS received a slight funding increase for fiscal 2020, its funding level still remains below where it was in 2010.

Democrats have been pushing for increases for the IRS's budget, and some Republicans have also been open to funding increases in recent years. But Republicans have also said that they want the IRS to see if it can use the resources it has more efficiently.