Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Require Employees To Uniformly Return Now (RETURN) Act to require teleworking Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees to return to in-office work in order to resolve a massive IRS tax return backlog.
“The IRS’s employees are working from home while it faces a mountainous tax return backlog. The RETURN Act would bring these employees back into the office so the IRS can eliminate the backlog and get hardworking Americans their tax refunds,” said Kennedy.
The IRS is facing a backlog of nearly 24 million tax returns from 2020. The IRS claims one factor causing the backlog was the pandemic, which forced IRS employees to work from home. As of January 2022, almost 70 percent of IRS employees were still teleworking full-time despite the federal workforce having a 98 percent vaccine mandate compliance.
The RETURN Act would require all IRS employees teleworking due to pandemic precautions to return to full-time, in-office work until the IRS Commissioner determines the backlog is resolved.
The bill would maintain telework options that existed for select circumstances prior to the pandemic and allow a five-day grace period after enactment to allow employees to transition back to the office.