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No closure for Austin Faciality Processing Center, Irs says

The internal revenue service  has reversed course and no longer plans to close its Austin facility.

The IRS said it will now keep the center, which is south of downtown Austin, open in order to “ensure there is sufficient capacity to best serve the nation’s taxpayers and process returns and taxpayer correspondence in a timely manner.”

The Austin facility currently has 3,400 employees, and the number of employees impacted by the decision to stay affects about 2,700 workers, the IRS told the American-Statesman on Friday.

IRS leaders previously said they planned to close the Austin facility, which processes paper tax returns, to cut costs at the agency and redirect resources to online tax-filing services.

Nearly 90% of taxpayers file online, a figure the IRS wants to increase. Still, the IRS must process tens of millions of paper returns at centres like Austin. An estimated 24 million tax returns are pending, with some refunds taking ten months or more.

Six years ago, the IRS announced a workforce consolidation plan. It shut down facilities in Cincinnati and Fresno in 2019

Austin housing market has yet to reach a tipping point as prices continue to rise.

In a recent Treasury Inspector General Tax Administration audit, the IRS said the decision to keep the Austin operations centre open “aligned with more recent revalidation analysis and feedback.”

US Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, applauded the decision.

The agency’s extensive paper backlog and hiring issues plagued the agency for the last two filing seasons, Doggett said.

““Great day for Austin workers and taxpayers,” Doggett said in a written statement. It means more tax returns processed faster with quicker rebates and Child Tax Credit payments.”

Doggett added that Austin workers will keep their jobs while the agency continues to recruit Central Texas talent.

The Travis Central Appraisal District values the Austin submission processing centre at 3651 S. Interstate 35 at $72.2 million.