The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has issued a report stating that the 2019 tax filing season will likely be delayed due to IRS under staffing issues and the government shutdown.
The IRS received $320 million to implement the changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), allocating $291 million it estimated would be needed for the information technology and ancillary operations support work. TIGTA calculated it would take more than 1.1 million labor hours based on the IRS's estimate of 542 full-time equivalent employees to implement the tax provisions contained in TCJA. The IRS plans to use current and new employees to meet these needs. As of June 2018, 117 current and new employees have been hired and entered on duty to meet these needs.
Due to the lengthy process to hire employees or bring contractors onboard, the TIGTA report says positions might not be quickly filled causing risk to the timelines of the information technology updates. Delays in updating, modifying, and testing these technology systems increases the risk of a delayed start of the 2019 filing season.
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