Message from the Commissioner — We are in this together


April 8, 2020

It's with deep sadness that I inform you that two of our colleagues in New York City have recently passed away due to complications of COVID-19. IRS leadership has notified the employees in each individuals' work area. A number of us have also recently lost family members and friends as well. On behalf of the entire IRS family, I extend my heartfelt and most sincere condolences to each of you and your families who are enduring traumatic loss during this period. People who have come into our lives at any point help define each of us for who we are – although we certainly mourn their loss, we shall forever cherish their memories … and never forget them.

And during this difficult time, I encourage everyone to continue to protect and respect the privacy of our colleagues and their families. I know this sad news compounds the overall unease we are each experiencing during this global health crisis. It's easy to become overwhelmed with the uncertainties of the current situation. That's why I want to impress upon each of you that help and support is always available to you as we face these unprecedented challenges.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is free and available to you and your immediate family members 24/7 by phone, online and with a mobile app. For online access, you need only register with your work email address and the company ID IRS112 to find a wealth of helpful resources while you are dealing with the myriad personal thoughts and concerns. The EAP can also connect you to confidential counseling services and much more. You are not in this alone, if inclined, I encourage you to seek assistance. Managers have also been provided the steps to enlist the help of the EAP's Critical Incident Stress Management services when appropriate.

During this unusual time, the normal camaraderie, friendship and in-person support many of us enjoy in the workplace is somewhat missing. With so many people sheltering at home for an extended period, it's easy to feel isolated. I urge you to stay in touch with your friends and colleagues to help and support each other. A simple text, email or call might actually be the highlight of their day and, if not, will at least remind them that others care and relate to their current situation. I'm aware of situations where groups of folks have "gotten together virtually" for dinners, games, movies-at-home, etc. Others are sharing ideas regarding efforts to "give back virtually" to various underserved local communities. Others are socially distancing in food banks, homeless or similar organizations, which are similarly struggling for staff and related assistance. We have caring individuals throughout our IRS family, making a positive difference every day.

We've started a new feature on the Source starting today called Heroes of the IRS – In This Together. This new feature can be found under Employee Pride and will highlight examples of where our employees are going the extra mile to help people inside and outside the IRS. The first article highlights employees using their 3-D printer to make masks for local law-enforcement. Please reach out to us with stories to consider for future articles.

We'll also continue to provide daily updates about critical COVID-19 information and, as our top priority, seek innovative ways to keep employees safe and mission-critical functions operating. As we continue to navigate through these personal and professional headwinds, please know we're in this together and I stand with you every step of the way.

Stay safe and take care … and feel free to "phone a friend" to let them know you care.