IRS Pushes for More Phone Support, Hires 4,000 Customer Service Reps
After the 2022 tax season found the Internal Revenue Service spread thinner than ever before, the agency is taking steps to ensure that the first few months of 2023 go far more smoothly.
How is the IRS working to get ahead of staffing issues in the upcoming tax season?
In addition to creating job openings in Taxpayer Assistance Centers, the IRS has already hired more than 4,000 new customer service representatives. The IRS is pushing to hire 5,000 customer service reps in total—leaving fewer than 1,000 hires left to go.
"Our phone lines have been simply overwhelmed during the pandemic,” says IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, “and we have been unable to provide the help that IRS employees want to give and that the nation's taxpayers deserve. But help is on the way for taxpayers.”
How will these IRS hires affect taxpayers and tax preparers in 2023?
In practical terms, these new customer service hires translate to improved phone communication during the tax season.
In Rettig’s words, "The IRS is fully committed to providing the best service possible, and we are moving quickly to use new funding to help taxpayers during the busy tax season. As the newly hired employees are trained and move online in 2023, we will have more assistors on the phone than any time in recent history."
How soon will these new hires be ready for tax season?
Onboarding is underway for the new customer service representatives, including service and taxpayer experience various trainings over the course of several weeks. Hiring has been staggered, but many of these reps will be ready for action in early 2023 for tax season. The remainder will join as they complete preliminary training, and most will be actively answering phones by the time the IRS sees the highest call volumes (usually around Presidents’ Day).
How are these new positions and hires being funded?
Expansion of IRS call centers is a benefit of the Inflation Reduction Act, which was approved in August of this year. Improvement efforts do not end there: The IRS is also seeking new employees in information technology and compliance, taking a holistic approach to improving taxpayer services overall.
All that's left now is to wait and see if these aspirations can be met. Still, the tax-filing landscape for 2023 looks promising; 4,000 new customer service hires certainly call for celebration.
Sources: IR-2022-197; IR-2022-191