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September 25, 2023

The IRS is So Broke Staff Have to Buy Their Own Paperclips

While we continue to wonder which hat the IRS is going to magically pull 87,000 new agents out of, more stories are coming out about just how tight things are at our nation’s tax collector. Like this recent NBC News article:

Will Kohler, who works as a tax examiner at the IRS office in Cincinnati, said supply shortages mean he sometimes has to use his own pens and paper clips. He has even brought in paper for the copy machine over his 10 years there, which he says is just part of the job at the chronically paperbound and technologically outdated agency.

Some of the challenges Kohler and fellow staffers recounted are familiar to workers across the economy, who in recent years have been asked to do more with less by employers plagued by labor shortfalls and tight resources.

“I mean, it’s a factory,” said Kohler. “And when there’s been no money and they’ve not been able to hire good people, it’s been bad.”

For all the smack we talk about cheap Big 4 firms, at least firms provide their own printer paper. And even pizza sometimes. Hell, they were giving away monitors at the beginning of the pandemic. Some will even pay to get your dog walked on days you’re in office.

The IRS has lost 13% of its staff since 2012. Perhaps providing basic office supplies for workers would be a reasonable retention strategy to start.

Somewhat related: What Does the IRS Do With All the Paperclips People Send Them?

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