IRS to close 43 small offices

The IRS says plans to close 43 of its smaller offices will have minimal impact on taxpayers and employees.

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The closings, to be carried out over two years, will save the government more than $40 million in office space and rent expenses, according to the agency.

“Given today’s tight budget environment, we have to be willing to make the tough but responsible calls to save taxpayer dollars,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “Cutting and consolidating our real estate is a responsible way we can save money. It’s an important addition to our growing portfolio of cost-saving measures.”

None of the offices has a walk-in taxpayer assistance center and all have fewer than 25 employees. The workers will be reassigned to nearby facilities or allowed to telework.

“No IRS employees will be losing their jobs as a result of the space optimization,” Anthony Burke, an IRS spokesman, said Monday.

The IRS currently has more than 650 offices around the country. Added to space reductions announced last year, this round of consolidations will drop total IRS office space by more than 1 million square feet since fiscal year 2011.

Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), which represents IRS employees, said Monday that her union “has been working with the IRS on its initiative to reduce overhead costs. We have done this in order to help the agency avoid further personnel reductions, while also mitigating the initiative’s negative impact on employees’ ability to carry out their important work and serve local taxpayers.

“While NTEU understands that some offices can be consolidated, we remain concerned about closing offices and how that will impact on customer service and operational efficiency,” Kelley said.

federaldiary@washpost.com

Previous columns by Joe Davidson are available at wapo.st/JoeDavidson. Follow the Federal Diary on Twitter: @JoeDavidsonWP

Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about federal government and workplace issues that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012. Davidson previously was an assistant city editor at The Washington Post and a Washington and foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered federal agencies and political campaigns.
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