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TIGTA Calls COVID-19 Response Top Priority For IRS In 2021

By Theresa Schliep · October 15, 2020, 3:30 PM EDT

The Internal Revenue Service's coronavirus response and efforts to implement tax relief in the pandemic's wake will be the agency's top challenges for the 2021 fiscal year, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said in a report released Thursday.

The IRS watchdog highlighted the agency's pandemic response as its most serious challenge for the 2021 fiscal year, saying in the report for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that the agency's enactment of pandemic relief and efforts to protect the health of its workers are its main priorities. The IRS was responsible for administering economic impact payments to individuals under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act , legislation that also earmarked $750 million in funding for the agency to fulfill the bill's tax provisions.

The IRS correctly calculated around 98% of the economic impact payments, but the agency distributed the relief to some dead people and incarcerated individuals, TIGTA said in the report dated Wednesday, highlighting a separate report from July. The watchdog also highlighted the security of taxpayer data and carrying out the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as continued management and performance priorities for the agency.

Significant budget and staffing cuts at the IRS has impacted its service and enforcement of tax laws, according to the report. The IRS saw a 29,000 decrease in its full-time positions between the 2010 and 2019 fiscal years, TIGTA said. 

--Additional reporting by David van den Berg. Editing by Neil Cohen.

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