The Internal Revenue Service is so desperate to clear a massive backlog of unprocessed tax returns, as more and more are submitted each day, the agency is preparing to hire thousands of people with no experience required.
The IRS on Thursday said it plans to hire 5,000 employes to start working within the next couple months in order to reduce the backlog of more than 20 million returns.
The tax agency said it was speeding up the hiring process and holding a series of job fairs where applicants will be offered jobs on the spot. The job openings are at IRS service processing centers located in Austin, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; and Ogden, Utah.
The IRS recently secured direct hiring authority for these employees. This will allow for onboarding and training new emergency teams which will begin working on the backlog within just a few weeks, the agency said. Many are entry-level clerk and tax examiner positions in the Wage and Investment Division. No prior tax experience is required.
The plan to hire 5,000 is part of a bigger goal to fill 10,000 jobs over the next year, the agency said.
"It's an exciting time to work for the Internal Revenue Service," IRS Taxpayer Experience Officer and Wage and Investment Commissioner Ken Corbin said in a statement. "Those who wish to work with customer service as their focus are encouraged to apply. This is gratifying work - as these newly hired individuals will process tax returns and deliver refunds to the nation's taxpayers."
In addition to the new hires, the IRS has implemented an "all-hands-on-deck approach to ensure as many employees as possible are dedicating time to return processing." That includes the creation of a new 700-person surge team to process new returns, and mandatory overtime for the over 6,000 employees processing original returns.
In a recent report to Congress, National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins said the IRS was "in crisis" with a backlog of more than 35.3 million returns awaiting processing as of mid-December -- before this year's tax filing season even began. In February, it was reported that nearly 24 million taxpayers were still waiting for the IRS to process returns they filed last year.
Earlier this year, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the IRS "has not been equipped with the resources to adequately serve taxpayers in normal times, let alone during a pandemic." She added that the backlogs were unacceptable and not what the American public deserves.
The IRS backlog results from several issues, Collins noted in her report, including the COVID-19 pandemic, continued reduced budgets and staffing levels within the IRS, and the impact of multiple legislative changes over the last two years. Psaki also acknowledged that the agency needs funding in order to improve its services.
The IRS has requested that people file their tax returns as soon as possible to avoid delays, which are expected to be lengthy.
The filing deadline to submit 2021 tax returns or an extension to file and pay tax owed is Monday, April 18, 2022, for most taxpayers. Taxpayers in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 19, 2022, to file their returns due to the Patriots' Day holiday in those states. Taxpayers requesting an extension will have until Monday, October 17, 2022, to file.
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