The Internal Revenue Service is on a hiring spree, just as several well-known companies have announced thousands of layoffs over the last few weeks.
The IRS said Wednesday it is looking to hire more than 700 new workers to fill positions at taxpayer assistance centers across the nation. Those new hires are funded by the Inflation Reduction Act that President Biden signed into law this year – the law appropriated nearly $80 billion that the IRS can use over the next decade to hire staff.
Republicans have warned the new law will let the IRS hire tens of thousands of auditors that could make life miserable for middle class taxpayers. However, while expanded auditing capacity is one likely result of the bill, the IRS has said the money would be used for a range of purposes, including clearing up a backlog of tax returns.
This week’s announcement made no mention of auditors, and is focused on staff who can help taxpayers navigate the tax code.
“This is an important priority to provide more service at the IRS for the upcoming filing season,” according to Ken Corbin, the IRS’ taxpayer experience officer and wage and investment commissioner. “We are working to have more than 270 walk-in sites properly staffed to provide the help taxpayers need and deserve. This will be the first time in a decade our walk-in sites will be fully staffed.”
The IRS wants to fill the more than 700 new positions with taxpayer advisory specialists who help taxpayers with technical questions about their returns, as well as “initial assistance representatives” who are responsible for “greeting and determining the needs of taxpayers.”
The IRS said it just recently hired 4,000 other customer service positions and said additional updates on how it plans to use Inflation Reduction Act funding would be released “soon.”
This week’s announcement comes just as several major companies have announced layoffs.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, said this week it will lay off more than 11,000 employees, a 13% reduction in the workforce.
“Not only has online commerce returned to prior trends, but the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ads signal loss have caused our revenue to be much lower than I’d expected,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.
Those broad economic factors appear to be hitting other companies. British banking giant Barclays said this week it would cut as many as 2,000 jobs. Last week, Citigroup said it would cut 11,000 of its own workforce.
New Twitter CEO Elon Musk cut about half of that company’s 7,500 workforce when he took over the company.
The online real estate company Redfin said it will cut nearly 900 workers, or about 13% of its staff.
Rideshare company Lyft and online payment company Stripe said they would cut 13% and 14% of their workforce, respectively.
Additionally, while retail Apple and online retail giant Amazon have yet to announce layoffs, they have announced hiring freezes.