Take it for what it’s worth, but here’s a data point to start the week: Since fiscal 2011, about 1,268 IRS employees have taken advantage of early retirement and buyout offers. That number amounts to a bit more than 1 percent of the agency’s workforce, which totaled almost 91,000 as of December, according to official figures posted online.
Federal Times received the information under a Freedom of Information Act request filed earlier this year after attempts to obtain the data from the IRS’ public affairs office in Washington were unsuccessful.
The mini-exodus is part of a looming human capital challenge facing the tax-collection agency, according to J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. About one-third of the IRS’ overall workforce is eligible for retirement in the next five years, George said. Among executives, that ratio is more than two-thirds, George said in prepared testimony at a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing this month.
“Replacing these employees provides an opportunity for reshaping the IRS workforce,” George said, “but also represents a significant challenge since many departing employees possess unique skills and institutional knowledge that will be difficult to replace.”