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IRS hiring up to 700 new tax enforcement agents

The bad tax news is that your chances of being audited just went up a bit.

The good tax news is that if you're looking for a job with the Internal Revenue Service, the agency is hiring hundreds of new enforcement agents.

Yes we are hiring sign

In an email sent to tax professionals last week, the IRS announced that it is accepting applications for a number of enforcement positions, potentially as many as 700, around the country. These will be the first significant hires in the enforcement area in more than five years.

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, in a May 3 memo to workers, called it "a good development for our tax system."

700 possible IRS jobs: The job announcements will begin showing up today, Monday, May 9, at the IRS' online jobs site. The postings are expected to continue for several weeks.

The first groups of new hires will be for entry-level positions, mostly in the Small Business and Self-Employed (SB/SE) Division. That will be followed by higher-level jobs openings in SB/SE, Large Business and International, and Tax-Exempt and Government Entities divisions, as well as in the Office of Appeals. The second round of jobs will be in positions that crack down on taxpayers who ignore international tax laws, steal identities and concoct fraudulent refund schemes.

Overall, the IRS expects to fill between 600 and 700 posts in the enforcement areas. Salaries range from the entry-level GS-5 pay grade of around $28,000 a year to GS-7 openings with annual pay starting at $35,000 to GS-9 levels, which starts at almost $43,000 a year. 

And don't forget about the benefits, like being able to tell your friends and family that you work for the IRS. Or not.

All joking aside, if you're looking for a job or career change, check out the new options.

Show me the hiring money: So how is the IRS, which the agency's chief is always telling us needs more money, come up with the cash to add up to hundreds of new workers?

In his message to IRS workers, Koskinen reiterated the agency's continuing budget struggles and its effect on the workforce:

"As we continue to operate with a constrained budget, an area of concern for all of us remains the significant decline in the number of employees across the IRS. With our budget down more than $900 million since 2010, there are unmet needs across the IRS and there have been few opportunities to hire new employees during the last six years."

This year, however, Koskinen told his workers that "we've determined that we have the resources available to hire these employees as a result of the rate of attrition in enforcement and your continuing dedication to find inefficiencies to help us with the budget."

The new jobs, added the commissioner, "will help fill key gaps" and the ability to hire new workers is "an important step in the right direction."

So, as always, take care with your tax return. You don't want to give the new, probably very enthusiastic IRS workers any reason to take a closer look at your 1040.

If you happen to land one of the new IRS jobs, congratulations.

And if an IRS gig doesn't work out, keep looking. And remember, your job search expenses might be tax deductible.

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