The IRS is hiring thousands of new workers. Just weeks after the tax agency announced plans to ramp up its focus on millionaires, complex partnerships, and large corporations, details about related new positions have been made public.
The IRS is hiring 3,700 new employees nationwide in more than 250 locations. The hiring is focused on higher-graded revenue agents. It’s a second wave of hiring thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act.
“This is another important step for the IRS as we work to transform the agency and make improvements,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “Our first wave of hiring focused on taxpayer service positions to help improve our phone and in-person assistance. This next wave of hiring will help the IRS add key talent like tax accountants to help reverse a decade-long decline of audits for the wealthy as well as complex partnerships and corporations. These new employees will be focused on higher-income and complex tax areas like partnerships, not average taxpayers making less than $400,000.”
Revenue agent positions target mid-career professionals with specialized experience and education. These positions are at the GS-13 level in the federal civil service system. GS stands for General Schedule and is a system used by the federal government. It covers the majority of civilian white-collar federal employees—that’s about 1.5 million worldwide.
GS standards make understanding the requirements and pay scales for positions easier. GS has 15 grades, from GS-1 (lowest) to GS-15 (highest). Federal agencies assign each job’s grade based on the difficulty level, responsibility, and qualifications required. According to the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM), individuals with a high school diploma and no additional experience typically qualify for GS-2 positions, while a Bachelor’s degree is normally required for GS-5 positions.
GS-13 revenue agents are technical experts in examinations of significant and complicated tax compliance issues. Their cases typically focus on the most complex income tax returns filed by individuals, organizations, and other entities. The annual pay is about $125,000. The average total compensation, including benefits, is approximately $175,000—those benefits include childcare subsidies, parental leave, and opportunities for student loan repayment.
It’s worth noting that revenue agents are not the same as revenue officers. A revenue agent is generally tasked with carrying out audits (correspondence and in-person) and determining tax liabilities. They don’t collect tax—that’s what revenue officers do.
Revenue agents are also different from special agents (like Eugene Hall). Revenue agents focus on the civil side, while special agents combine accounting skills with law enforcement skills to investigate financial crimes as part of the IRS Criminal Investigation. Revenue agents are not involved in law enforcement and do not carry a gun.
The IRS notes that those working in financial services, including tax accountants, forensic accountants, auditors, controllers, and treasurers, frequently have the relevant education, experience, and skills to apply for the GS-13. Specialized experience counts—no matter your degree, you could qualify if your coursework included at least 30 semester hours in accounting. You can find more information on careers and events on the IRS jobs page.
If it feels like the IRS is on a hiring spree, you’re not wrong. In 2022, the IRS announced it would hire 4,000 new employees to help taxpayers, including answering phone questions. And earlier this year, the agency hired 700 new employees to open or reopen 42 taxpayer assistance centers.
Money for some of the new hires comes from the Inflation Reduction Act, which included approximately $80 billion in additional funding for the IRS. The funding was not a lump sum—it is over ten years—though it was scaled back as part of the debt ceiling agreement earlier in the year.
Werfel said that using IRA funding has made “an immediate, meaningful difference” in how the agency does business. Improving the taxpayer experience has been a key goal of Werfel since his tenure began earlier this year.
“For more than a decade,” Werfel said, “the agency has struggled.” Werfel credits IRA funding with helping the agency provide better taxpayer service during the 2023 filing season. Previously, declines in funding resulted in cuts to services and hiring. According to the 2022 IRS Data Book, in fiscal year 2022, the IRS used 79,070 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, a decrease of 9.1% since fiscal year 2013.
Werfel argues that a well-funded IRS is good for taxpayers. As for taxpayers who worry that increased hiring could mean increased scrutiny? That’s true for some, including high-income taxpayers. But earlier this month, Werfel repeated his promise that the IRS will ensure that audit rates do not increase for those earning less than $400,000. “Middle and low income filers,” he said, “will see no change [in audit rates] from pre-IRA historic lows.”