We’re almost at the halfway point of the 2015 fiscal year, and I am following up with you to share important information about our financial situation. As discussed in January, the IRS had to take some difficult steps to absorb the severe cuts to our budget.
Throughout the process, we tried to balance cuts and protect critical areas as much as possible. Reductions were so deep that there were concerns we might have to close the IRS for two days later this year. We always viewed this as a last resort, and we agreed to do everything we could to avoid a shutdown. Thanks to your efforts to contain costs and other steps taken during the past three months, I am pleased to announce the IRS will not need to shutdown later in the year.
Preventing a shutdown was a high priority for both the NTEU and the IRS. We’ve had ongoing discussions on this with NTEU during the past few months, and I want to thank Colleen Kelley and her team for their support as we worked through the issue. We are pleased that we were able to avoid this scenario – and the resulting disruptions for taxpayers, the tax community and IRS employees.
Given the budget cuts, the IRS has been working hard to make wise reductions and find additional areas for savings. A number of difficult decisions, such as putting in place a stricter hiring freeze than was already in place, has resulted in reduced costs.
Despite avoiding furlough days, it’s clear that the budget cuts continue to hurt taxpayers and our tax system. This is unacceptable to all of us, and I know that you’ve been doing your best during this difficult time and going the extra mile for taxpayers.
Even though we’ve had to do less with less, so far filing season has been running about as smoothly as we could hope, thanks to the dedicated work of IRS employees. Through March 13, the IRS has already processed more than 72 million individual returns. At the same time, you and your colleagues have been able to maintain critical IT systems and focus on key enforcement efforts.
The Administration has proposed a fiscal year 2016 budget that would provide IRS employees more tools to provide taxpayers the service they deserve. Many steps remain in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget process, and I will continue to update you on the situation as events unfold.
With the April 15 tax filing deadline less than a month away, I want to express our deep appreciation for your continued commitment to serving the American public. Even during difficult times, you remain dedicated to our mission. Thank you for all you do.
– John A. Koskinen