IRS Forced to Reassign Employees to Handle Tax Return Backlog

IRS Forced to Reassign Employees to Handle Tax Return Backlog Tax forms Tax forms. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By Theodore Bunker | Thursday, 03 February 2022 03:00 PM

The IRS is reassigning agency workers with prior experience in processing tax returns to help reduce the "unprecedented" backlog that built up over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Politico reports.

"This is an all-hands-on-deck situation to help people as quickly as possible and reduce the stress on employees who have been and continue to face unprecedented levels of inventory to be worked," Commissioner Chuck Rettig told agency employees on Wednesday.

Part of the "servicewide initiative" will include reassigning about 1,200 IRS employees who used to work in the agency's accounts management group and have since taken other jobs. According to Rettig, these workers "are in the best position to provide the much-needed skills and support to serve the taxpayers represented in these inventories. The bottom line is we need this help."

The employees are expected to return to their current positions by the end of the 2022 federal fiscal year in about eight months.

Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said last month that "right now is probably the most stressful of the entire year," due to pandemic-related office closures, new benefit programs increasing the workload for government agencies, and ongoing work dealing with stimulus payments issued last year.

"Employees recognize that they are not able to answer all the calls, do all the things they want to do, to perform the services necessary for the American people, that's a difficult thing for employees as well and really brings the morale down," Reardon told Spectrum News.

"It's not a matter of if the IRS system is going to break, it's a matter of when," he added. "And I think we are now at a situation where we are starting to see the system is starting to break."