IRS to hire more employees for corporate, international compliance

In an economic downturn when few companies are hiring, one federal agency plans to embark on its largest hiring initiative in recent history – the IRS will hire more than 3,500 enforcement employees.

Within that total will be more than 2,000 new revenue agents and revenue officers, said Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement Linda E. Stiff. Several hundred will focus on large corporate compliance, and up to 700 will handle international issues, according to BNA Daily Tax Report and OMB Watch, which reported Stiff's comments at a March 30 conference of the Tax Executives Institute.

Stiff told the attendees that the 2009 omnibus bill includes $630 million above IRS's current funding, making it possible to better tackle noncompliance through improvements in collection efforts, technology and audits.

As for the international arena, Stiff said the IRS is taking an integrated approach that includes collaboration and information sharing. "International issues are, and will continue to be, an area of major strategic focus for the IRS," Stiff said. "We cannot allow an environment to develop where wealthy individuals or companies can go offshore and avoid paying taxes with impunity."

OMB Watch, commenting on the hires, said on its Web site, "While you might not like the IRS, this is great news for starting to chip away at the $345 billion annual tax gap."

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