Internal Revenue Service (IRS) | www.irs.gov | jobs.irs.gov |
Published in the March/April 2010 issue of print Search & Employ® |
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may not have the most popular reputation with taxpayers, yet it serves one of the most vital roles in the country. Without the IRS, one can argue that we would not be the most powerful country in the world. After all, our government cannot function without money from its citizens; and the IRS is one of the world’s most efficient tax administrators. A bureau of the Department of the Treasury, the IRS collected more than $2 trillion in revenue, and processed more than 224 million tax returns in 2004. The IRS spent just $.44 for each $100 it collected in 2005.
The role of the IRS is to help compliant taxpayers understand and apply tax laws, while making sure that tax-dodgers end up paying their fair share. The IRS got its start during the Civil War when President Lincoln and Congress created the position of commissioner of Internal Revenue. An income tax was designed to pay war expenses for the Union. The income tax only lasted 10 years before it was repealed. Congress brought it back in 1894, but the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. That lasted until 1913, when Wyoming ratified the 16th Amendment. That provided the three-quarter majority of states necessary to amend the Constitution. The 16th Amendment gave Congress the authority to enact an income tax.
In the 1950s, the Bureau of Internal Revenue changed its name to the Internal Revenue Service. Today, only the IRS commissioner and chief counsel are selected by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 prompted the most comprehensive reorganization and modernization of IRS in nearly half a century. The IRS reorganized itself to closely resemble a private sector company that must serve the needs of its customers.
Chip Hollimon, the veterans’ recruitment manager for the IRS, is in charge of finding the best and brightest U.S. service members, and getting them to work for the IRS. Before holding that post, he served as the veterans’ and special emphasis program manager at the IRS. He also gave 20 years to the Marine Corps, and retired as a captain.
“Coming to work at the IRS is an opportunity for veterans to serve their country again,” Hollimon said. “It’s a chance to be involved in something that is beneficial to our country.” Much of the strategy Hollimon and his staff use involve working with various base TAP offices, attending career fairs at military installations, and helping wounded warriors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital get ready to leave the military and join the civilian workforce. “We help them with resume prep and practice interviews,” Hollimon said.
While very few jobs in the military involve the collection of money, especially taxes, Hollimon said that almost any skill set acquired in the military has an application at the IRS. Especially since the agency has more than 100,000 employees. “While we certainly look for those with contract enforcement experience and project management skills, we’ve got such a diverse need that we encourage all veterans to take a look at our job listings. We have needs everywhere from human resources to IT.”
Hollimon also said that veterans offer more than just their specialty in the military. “Their intangible skills make them a great fit,” he said. “They’re honest and have strong core values. They also have a drive to succeed and are constantly trying to improve. They also know that jobs cannot be done alone, and that teamwork is integral to success. Those are all qualities we desire at the IRS.”
Hollimon also said that veterans enjoy working at the IRS for several reasons. Among those reasons is the chance to work with people who think the same way, and who are on a mission. “The camaraderie among veterans and everyone else is what attracted me to work at the IRS,” he said. “Two staff members in this department recently retired after 40 years of service. There’s a real family-like environment here that makes people enjoy their jobs. On top of that, I really think that ability to be included in something that is beneficial to our country is what really drives everyone here. We know we play a big role in keeping our country strong.”