Staff cuts take a toll on IRS tax enforcement efforts, agency watchdog says

An IRS watchdog says budget cuts to the agency are taking their toll — and more are on the way under legislation that has advanced through a House panel.

IRS budget cuts are hurting tax collections because there are fewer agents chasing delinquent taxpayers, according to a report released Wednesday by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. The agency's budget has been cut by $1.2 billion since 2010.

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Enforcement revenue collected by the officers dropped from a high of $3.3 billion in 2012 to $3.0 billion last year, even as the economy improved.

During that time, the number of revenue officers has been cut by nearly a third, to less than 3,000.

The IRS' overloaded phone system also hung up on more than 8 million taxpayers this filing season.