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The IRS Wants to Hire 10,000 New Employees in the Next Year. So What Are They Paying?

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Last Friday I buried a link about the IRS’ latest hiring push in Footnotes but I think it deserves its own little mention if only to discuss the pay. That’s all that matters, right? Before we get to that, my handlers have asked me to remind you that Footnotes is a weekly wrap-up of accounting news not published here that you may have missed. If you want to know what’s going on in accounting but can’t stand our shitposting and pathetic attempts at pithy commentary then Footnotes is for you. You can check it out every Friday at 5 p.m. Eastern. Alright, that’s enough housekeeping.

The story I linked was New York Times article that went something like this:

The Internal Revenue Service said on Thursday that it planned a hiring spree this tax season as it tries to clear a backlog of more than 20 million unprocessed tax returns from previous years.

The agency said it intended to hire 10,000 new employees in the next year and hoped to bring on about half of those workers in the next few months. The I.R.S. described the blueprint as an “all hands on deck” approach to emerge from longstanding staffing shortages that were compounded by the pandemic.

“To ensure inventory is back to a healthy level for next filing season, we are leaving no stone unturned — taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to ensure as many employees as possible are dedicating time to return processing,” Charles P. Rettig, the I.R.S. commissioner, said in a statement.

On top of that, the agency wants to hire 200 additional technologists to help the agency further modernize its 8-track era technology. Anyone here even know what an 8-track is? I’m old and even I barely know what they are. Point is their tech is old (duh). These IT job openings can be found on the USAJOBS site here by searching for job series 2210 – Information Technology Management. As for the WFH situation, “IRS IT is currently in a maximum telework mode and will have a competitive telework policy going forward” according to the press release linked above. Keep in mind President Biden said in his State of the Union address earlier this month that he wants to see government employees return to the office en masse now that this Covid thing is starting to blow over. For whatever that’s worth.

Because finding 10,000 people willing to dedicate their lives to public service is a herculean task that will no doubt take some time to complete, in the meantime the IRS is deploying AI chatbots to help with their perpetually unprecedented high call volume. To my knowledge, this move is the first significant instance of robots taking your jobs we’ve ever seen, not counting the advent of digital confirmations and other such tools that don’t necessarily replace humans, just simplify tasks that used to be assigned to them.

From the March 10 IRS press release:

“Our phone lines continue to see unprecedented demand, and the IRS continues to look for ways to help people and avoid long wait times,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Our telephone representatives remain an important part of the service we provide, but these bots can help some people avoid lengthy phone delays for something that could be resolved on the spot. This is part of a larger effort to help people get the assistance they need this tax season.”

The IRS in recent weeks has deployed voice and chat bots in English and Spanish for phone lines that assist taxpayers with tax payments issues or understanding an IRS notice they may have received. People with general tax season questions generally will not encounter these features at this time. The bots are now available to help taxpayers with:

  • How to make one-time payments
  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • Collection notice clarification

I don’t know about y’all but my Echo can’t even find the song I asked for on Spotify 85% of the time so let’s make sure we manage our expectations and understand that humans would probably be preferable here, they’re just making do with what they’ve got due to their shortage of humans.

About that shortage. The IRS has an entire page dedicated to salary and benefits, which you can peruse at your convenience here. One thing to note — and anyone who put in 70 hours last week and ate at least 15 of them will appreciate this bit — is the explicit mention of overtime and holiday pay.

In addition to paying time-and-a-half for working more than 8 hours in a day, or 40 hours in a week, we’ll also pay you the following premium rates:

  • Night (10% premium)
  • Sunday (25% premium)
  • Holiday (100% premium)
  • Availability Pay (25% premium) for cetain [sic] Law Enforcement positions

Hey uh IRS, y’all need any editors to catch copy errors for you? I know of one currently making dirt who’d be happy to help you out if the price is right.

Anyway. IRS grunt salaries use the General Schedule (GS) classification and pay system, standard for government employees. You can find those salary tables here. You know what actually let’s just paste it right here. Mind this is the base, you’ll have to check that link to find tables for specific localities.

2022 General Schedule government salary table

Grades and who gets paid what are explained thusly:

The General Schedule has 15 grades, with GS-1 being the lowest, and GS-15 being the highest. Agencies establish (classify) the grade of each job based on the level of difficulty, responsibility, and qualifications required. Individuals with a high school diploma and no additional experience typically qualify for GS-2 positions; those with a Bachelor’s degree for GS-5 positions; and those with a Master’s degree for GS-9 positions. Each grade has 10 step rates (steps 1-10) that are each worth approximately 3 percent of the employee’s salary. Within-grade step increases are based on an acceptable level of performance and longevity.

Manager salaries are based on the IRS Payband System which you can find here. I’m not pasting that table, I’d be here all day copying every locale.

Is it worth it? Well I guess that depends on what you’re making now and how much you value your nights and weekends. They’ve had almost ten years to solve that problem they used to have with employees using company cards on extravagant dinners, booze, and porn so we’re not sure about the perks but just assume free internet porn and wine isn’t among them.

Any current or former IRS employees are welcome to use the contact information below to let us know their experiences and, if necessary, share some anecdotes that might scare people away. If there’s anything we love, it’s scaring people away.

Image by Katie White from Pixabay