Stripped-Down IRS Strives To Get COVID Relief Checks To Americans
The strain of needing coronavirus relief has weighed heavily on American citizens, but it’s also an unbelievably hard task for the IRS itself to pull off.
Lost beneath the political noise and personal turmoil of this pandemic is the cold hard truths resulting from major cuts to the agency.
Despite losing budget money and workers for most of the past decade, expectations and performance requirements for the IRS have continued to rise — none more important than sending out the relief that millions of desperate Americans need right now to survive.
According to National Treasury Employees Union president Tony Reardon, the IRS is grinding to get out the Biden administration’s new $1,400 checks with 33,000 less employees than it had in 2010.
"It makes it very difficult for the agency to do its tax work when they've lost more than 20% of their workforce," Reardon says.
Even harder, the IRS is still processing pandemic-delayed tax returns from 2019 and preparing to process 2020 forms at the same time — all while returning to its normal calendar schedule.
One thing that the latest COVID-relief bill does include, however, is allocate $1.4 billion to modernize the agency's 50-year-old software platform. This long-needed upgrade could cause some brief hiccups, but in the long run, it’s an absolutely essential upgrade.
Until then, the IRS is doing everything it can to get relief in the hands of qualified American citizens. According to NPR, the agency is issued the latest stimulus payments to some 85% of American households, along with other provisions.