Bill prioritizes enhanced IRS taxpayer assistance

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A group of lawmakers recently introduced legislation designed to enhance Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxpayer assistance by prioritizing taxpayers over representational work during tax filing season.

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U.S. Sens. Mike Braun (R-IN), John Boozman (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Rick Scott (R-FL), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) said the IRS Customer Service Improvement Act would prohibit IRS staff from leaving their duty stations during filing season to do taxpayer-funded union official time.

The legislation stems from IRS employees spending much of their time on the job completing tasks unrelated to their official duties via taxpayer-funded union time, performing representational work for a bargaining unit in lieu of their regularly assigned work.

The legislators cited a 2020 Taxpayer Advocate Services (TAS) report determining poor customer service and personnel problems were among the top challenges facing the IRS.

“The pressing needs of American taxpayers should be the top priority for IRS staff, at the very least during tax filing season,” Braun said. “While President Biden has requested $80 billion to muster an army of bureaucrats at the IRS, currently many IRS employees are spending their work time completing unrelated representational work on the taxpayer’s dime. This bill will focus all available staff to complete the duties of the positions for which they were hired, rather than union work, during tax season.”

Cramer said taxpayers expect federal employees to use their time on the job to perform the duties they were hired to do.

“At a time when the agency is already experiencing a backlog, our bill would require IRS employees, during tax season, to complete the primary responsibilities of the positions they were hired for before they participate in taxpayer-funded union time.”

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