The National Taxpayer Advocate released its annual report to Congress earlier this week. Their top complaint is that the IRS is severely underfunded, which is causing a number of problems, including an erosion of customer service and a dwindling of taxpayer rights.
One way the IRS is dealing with a smaller budget is by offering early retirements and employee buyouts. This practice really illustrates the IRS’ dilemma. The more seasoned, higher-paid IRS employees are the only ones being offered buyouts because they are the only ones that qualify for early retirement, and the IRS can make a bigger dent in their payroll by shedding tenured employees. So the IRS will be losing some of their best people and filling empty spots with new employees. I know that the TAS is of the opinion that the problems at the IRS are primarily due to them being understaffed, but I have to believe that part of it is due to a large number of new employees who are still learning their job duties.
It seems like a lose-lose situation for the IRS. Under current budget constraints, if they keep their seasoned employees then they can’t afford to hire enough staff. But if they allow them to retire early then they would be, in effect, trading their MVPs for rookies.