Seven former IRS commissioners are begging Congress to halt additional cuts to the agency’s budget.
In a November letter to U.S. House and Senate leaders, the former commissioners pointed out that the agency’s budget has been cut by 17 percent since 2010 — a $1.2 billion reduction.
“None of us ever experienced, nor are we aware of, any IRS appropriations reductions of this magnitude over such a prolonged period of time,” they wrote.
The former commissioners who signed the letter are: Mortimer M. Caplin (1961-1964), Sheldon S. Cohen (1965-1969), Lawrence B. Gibbs (1986-1989), Fred T. Goldberg Jr. (1989-1992), Shirley D. Peterson (1992-1993), Margaret M. Richardson (1993-1997), and Charles O. Rossotti (1997-2002).
They served during the Kennedy, Johnson, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations.
According to their letter, the House and the Senate have proposed reducing the IRS’ budget by $838 million and $470 million, respectively, for fiscal year 2015. That would be a reduction from the agency’s current $10.9 billion appropriation.
“The impact on the IRS of these reductions is that the IRS has lost approximately 15,000 full-time employees through attrition over the last five years, with more losses likely in the current fiscal year unless Congress reverses the funding trend,” they claimed.
They also noted that the budget cuts come when a bulk of the IRS workforce is either eligible to retire or on the cusp of it. In addition, they pointed out that while the agency is working with less staff and less money, Congress has passed “major tax legislation” that has substantially increased the agency’s workload.
And as we previously reported on this blog, they also referenced the numerous cyberattacks to IRS databases. That has resulted in federal workers’ personal, financial, and tax information getting stolen. They argue that the IRS cannot overcome these threats with limited resources.
“These criminals seek to file false returns and claim fraudulent refunds using personal taxpayer data,” they wrote.
If you work at the IRS, we urge you to keep an eye on what may happen to your agency’s budget. Your job security may be at risk. You may also want to begin thinking about alternative investments to supplement your government benefits so that you secure a distinguished retirement.