From today's TaxBase (Tax Analysts) comes a happy story wrapped in a mourning shroud:
IRS Employees Win Second Jobs Competition -- And Lose More Jobs
For the second day in a row, the IRS announced August 5 that an internal group has won a public-private jobs competition, which will still result in more than 200 job losses at the IRS.
The competition was held over an IRS initiative to restructure its Modernization and Information Technology Services (MITS), which is responsible for information systems products and services for tax return processing. The winning plan, created by an employee-management team that included members of the IRS employees union, calls for cutting the number of MITS employees down from nearly 280 to 60 in the IRS’s 10 centers across the country.
The union decried the competition as a result of the IRS trying to meet the Bush administration’s “unstated quota” for federal agencies regarding opening up a certain percentage of their jobs to private-sector competition.
OK, maybe we're a bit slow. Let's see if we have this right:
-IRS employees, including union members, have figured out ways to do the same work with 220 fewer people. This means the IRS can use these 220 salaries to fight offshore tax fraud or abusive corporate tax shelters.
And that's a bad thing?
Well, maybe replacement jobs will satisfy the National Treasury Employees Union, if they are all unionized, and if they aren't required to be too well-trained:
IRS Officials Criticize Arbitration Ruling
A decision handed down in a labor dispute could hinder the IRS’s ability to sniff out abusive tax shelters, according to IRS officials, including Commissioner Mark Everson.
On July 9 an arbiter struck down a tougher set of qualifications for revenue agents aimed at strengthening the accounting skills of the IRS’s enforcement personnel. Everson told Tax Analysts he was “shocked” by the “horrific” decision...
When the new requirements were put in place, already-employed revenue agents were not required to meet the new requirements, but other Service employees wanting to apply for the positions were. The union has called the rules "unnecessary obstacles on internal candidates." In an interview with Tax Analysts, NTEU President Colleen Kelley charged the Service with "unilaterally changing the requirements for the job with no substantiation."
One might almost get the impression that the union wants to keep unneeded workers on the payroll while making sure they aren't required to obtain skills to do jobs that actually need doing.
The items included in the Tax Update Blog are informational only and are not meant as tax advice. Consult with your tax advisor to determine how any item applies to your situation.
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