Celebrating IRS Workforce During Public Service Recognition Week

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During Public Service Awareness Week, we’re celebrating the IRS workforce. Our employees make a difference, they care, and they take pride in serving taxpayers and our country.

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By Chuck Rettig
CL-21-15, May 6, 2021

The IRS joins other federal, state, county and local government agencies in celebrating the work of public servants nationwide during National Public Service Recognition Week. While I firmly believe I’ve been surrounded by hard-working people since I became IRS Commissioner, our people have shown remarkable determination, compassion and dedication this past year in carrying out our mission despite the professional and personal challenges brought on by the pandemic.

I am very proud of how IRS employees responded admirably to the COVID-19 situation by quickly facilitating financial assistance and administrative relief to hundreds of millions of Americans in all walks of life – including distributing nearly $800 billion in Economic Impact Payments since the spring of last year. People at the IRS continually demonstrate just how much they care, and how important the agency is to our country, by their heroic response to events, both planned and unplanned.

This unprecedented pandemic illustrates the significant role that our agency and our people play in our country. We have been called to provide economic relief during this national crisis while also fulfilling our routine responsibilities of tax administration. While dealing with pandemic issues at home and with most of our office workplaces closed since last March, employees in various IRS offices collaborated to improve delivery of stimulus payments each of the three times Congress passed legislation so that by the third stimulus effort, checks started going out the very next day.

Our workforce navigated preparation for this year’s filing season while continuing to implement COVID-related relief measures and delivering an extended 2020 filing season last year. These circumstances challenged our ability to make the necessary annual changes for filing season 2021. Nonetheless, as a result of the ongoing efforts of our employees, the IRS is on track to deliver a successful filing season again this year.

As difficult as this last year has been, we have seen many examples of how this crisis has brought out the best in people, including the IRS workforce. I am proud of what our employees have accomplished during the pandemic. Our employees shared the same health and safety concerns for themselves and their families as every other American. However, they not only went the extra mile in doing their jobs - they also made a difference in their communities.

For example, we saw IRS employees across the country doing some amazing things -- getting out their sewing machines and creating thousands of homemade face masks for family members and friends; donating essentials to support first responders on the front lines in their communities; and delivering “care packages” to seniors in nursing homes. During last summer’s Feds Feed Families Campaign, employees at our Memphis Campus donated a record-breaking 51,800 pounds of food to the Mid-South Food Bank.

Our people have shown remarkable determination, compassion, and dedication this past year in carrying out our mission despite the professional and personal challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Beyond the pandemic, IRS employees routinely deliver in times of need for the nation when disasters strike. Since 2012, more than 10,000 IRS phone assistors have stepped up to help take the burden off the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) call centers in the aftermath of hurricanes and other natural disasters, answering an estimated 1.6 million calls from storm survivors seeking help. Last year, a team of about 20 special agents from our Criminal Investigation division deployed to Oregon in support of those fighting wildfires in that state.

This week, we will proudly celebrate the achievements of our workforce over the past two years with a virtual annual awards ceremony. Individuals and teams will be recognized for their success in modernizing systems, improving customer service and the taxpayer experience, expanding multilingual outreach, investigating and prosecuting fraud, improving tax compliance efforts, streamlining administrative processes, improving our data analytics capabilities, developing strategies to implement the Taxpayer First Act, and for other work in pursuit of excellence in our critical mission. I wish that I could celebrate these successes with our award winners in person and thank everyone personally for the work they do, and I look forward to a time when that is possible again.

I could not let this week dedicated to recognizing public servants pass without saying that the greatest strength of the IRS is our experienced and dedicated workforce. Our employees make a difference, they care, and they take pride in serving taxpayers and our country. I continue to be impressed and humbled by their dedication, their commitment, and above all, their ability to rise above the challenges we face. They’ve consistently stepped up and made a big difference in the lives of our fellow citizens, and our country is better for it.

Chuck Rettig
IRS Commissioner