New IRS Chief Says Filings Should Soon Be Easier

Danny Werfel, who was just sworn-in as the new commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service this week, said that taxpayers will see “real-world improvements” from the $80 billion in additional funding the agency will be receiving over the next 10 years.

During his swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday, Werfel said his agency would release its Strategic Operating Plan late this week that will outline specifically how the IRS will use the additional funding. The $80 billion the IRS was allocated through the Inflation Reduction Act will be given to them over the next 10 years.

Werfel, who started working at the IRS in the middle of March, said during his comments:

“This is our moment in history to transform the IRS. We have a great deal of work ahead of us to ensure a more modern and high-performing IRS that provides world-class services to taxpayers.”

Included in the improvements the IRS has planned are additional hires that will help to end the long wait times people have when they call into the IRS for help. They also include new locations where staff at the tax agency could provide services to people in-person, while expanding online accounts as well so that taxpayers and tax professionals would have the ability to address any issues they have online rather than via snail mail.

Werferl was nominated by President Joe Biden to lead the IRS through this important time in its history, thanks to the $80 billion in funding that was pushed through Congress by the Democrat-led House and Senate last year. Democrats couldn’t get enough support from Republicans to avoid the Senate filibuster, so they used budget reconciliation to pass the bill anyway.

Republicans have long railed against the additional funding that’s being given to the IRS, suggesting that all that money would be used to hire tax agents who would be equipped with weapons as an enforcement approach. Members of the GOP have also said that they believe taxpayers who fall in the middle class would likely be audited more often as a result of the additional staff at the IRS.

While he was going through his confirmation hearing back in February, Werfel answered a lot of questions on those topics from Republicans. 

During those hearings, he pledged to members of the Senate Finance Committee that he wouldn’t expand the IRS’ tax audits that it conducts on small businesses as well as households that earn $400,000 a year or less.

The senators on the committee praised him for having the will to lead the IRS, which is a troubled agency, instead of staying at the consulting job he had at a private company. 

Before becoming IRS commissioner, Werferl led the global public sector practice at Boston Consulting Group. He has also served as the acting commissioner of the IRS in the past.

During the swearing-in ceremony for Werfel, Janet Yellen, the Treasury Secretary, gave a speech to employees of the Treasury Department and the IRS, saying that employees of the two agencies would be tasked with “dramatically improving taxpayer service and ensuring that large corporations and the wealthy pay the taxes they owe.”