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IRS’ Rettig Reiterates Backlog, Hiring Progress Before Senate Finance Committee

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Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig remained positive that the agency will be able to return to a normal backlog of unprocessed returns and other mail correspondence by the end of the year and noted progress on hiring more people to help clear the backlog.

“With respect to our current 2022 filing season, we are off to a healthy start in terms of tax processing and the operation of our IT systems,” Rettig told members of the Senate Finance Committee during an April 7 hearing to discuss the White House budget request and update the panel on the current tax filing season. “Through April 1, we have processed more than 89 million returns and issued more than 63 million refunds totaling more than $204 billion.”

Getting that backlog cleared has been bolstered in part by a direct hiring authority given to the agency in the recent passage of the fiscal year 2022 omnibus budget, Rettig told the committee.

The effectiveness of that hiring authority was highlighted in his written testimony submitted prior to the hearing, where Rettig stated that in-person and virtual job fairs near processing facilities in Austin, Kansas City, and Ogden, Utah, attracted eligible applicants for more than 5,000 vacancies and “we have been able to make more than 2,500 conditional offers at the conclusion of the interviews.”

Rettig said the direct hiring authority is only related to those lower paygrade processing/customer service positions and the agency is going to ask Congress to expand that authority, although he did not specify what types of positions would be hired as part of that expansion.