IRS Faces Backlash Over High-Paid ‘Taxpayer Experience Officer’

The IRS has recently appointed Fumi Tamaki as its new “taxpayer experience officer,” a position funded by taxpayers. This role, which commands a hefty salary, has sparked criticism over the agency’s spending priorities.

Tamaki’s salary has not been disclosed, but her predecessor earned nearly $200,000 in 2022, according to payroll records obtained by OpenTheBooks. Deputy Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer Courtney Kay-Decker earned $187,000 last year. With benefits included, the office costs taxpayers over $483,000 annually.

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel, who earns $168,000, stated that Tamaki and Kay-Decker are tasked with improving the tax community’s experience. However, the high salaries of these positions have raised concerns about the agency’s spending.

In 2022, the IRS paid six-figure salaries to 11,846 employees, some earning up to $261,400, resulting in a total payroll of $4.9 billion. The Taxpayer Experience Office, established to manage the $80 billion supplemental funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, has been under scrutiny for its efficiency. Republicans successfully reduced this funding to $58.4 billion in March.

The office collaborates with National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins, who earns over $203,000. Collins has highlighted issues within the IRS, such as the lengthy 22-month wait for identity theft victims to receive refunds. Despite identifying these problems, the effectiveness of the office in resolving them remains questionable.

Critics argue that the best way to enhance the taxpayer experience is to reduce the IRS’s extensive payroll, thereby saving money for Americans. The high salaries of the agency’s top officials have drawn scrutiny, suggesting that a more cost-effective approach could better serve taxpayers.

Tamaki and her colleagues face the challenge of justifying their roles and expenses to an increasingly skeptical public. With ongoing debates about government spending and efficiency, the IRS’s approach to managing taxpayer funds continues to be a contentious issue.