The IRS appears to have counted out some taxpayers a bit too soon

In today's Federal Newscast, an IRS watchdog finds the agency incorrectly flagged tens of thousands of taxpayers as deceased.

  • The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board is clarifying that the Thrift Savings Plan's International, or I Fund does not, and has never, included investments in mainland China. The board issued more details to try to demystify what it says are misconceptions or misstatements about TSP investments. It also comes in response to Republican legislation that aims to prevent TSP from investing in China. The board emphasized that the TSP represents less than 1% of all investment assets in the U.S., and said the 6.8 million TSP participants should not be discriminated against by restricting the ability to direct their money and save for retirement.
    (TSP fact sheet on investment in China - Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board )
  • At least one chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees is pushing back after a White House memo told agencies to start aggressively executing return-to-office plans. AFGE Council 238, representing 8,000 employees at the Environmental Protection Agency, said the Biden administration's intentions would be "highly detrimental" to the agency's mission. The union leaders said EPA is already struggling to hire 1,800 new workers in the next year, and returning to the office more often would only worsen the recruitment challenge. In a survey of EPA employees earlier this year, about two-thirds said they'd consider leaving the agency if their workplace flexibilities were reduced. Adding to the list of concerns, the union said the negative environmental cost of working in the office comes in direct contrast to EPA's mission.
    (Response to White House call to limit telework - American Federation of Government Employees)
  • The American Federation of Government Employees may have a new bargaining unit for European federal employees by the end of the year. The union started a new local for employees of the Defense Health Agency and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. So far it has signed up about 100 at-large members. The union will need 30 percent of employees to express interest in order to conduct a vote on recognizing the union. There are about 30,000 federal employees working in Europe. AFGE hopes to represent about 10,000 of them.
    (AFGE launches new local to serve unrepresented employees in Europe - American Federation of Government Employees)
  • The Biden administration is asking Congress to keep wildland firefighters from falling off the fiscal cliff. Wildland firefighters could see their pay drop to as little as $15 an hour without Congressional action. So the White House is asking Congress for $60 million to ensure firefighters don't face an unexpected pay cut. The extra funding for firefighters is part of a $40 billion supplemental request the Biden administration sent to Congress yesterday. The White House is also asking for $24 billion for Ukraine, $12 billion for FEMA and its disaster relief fund and four billion dollars for southwest border security.
  • The Pentagon sees a lot of promise in generative AI – the same technology behind ChatGPT – but Defense officials said they want to embrace it responsibly. That’s the job of a new task force the Defense Department stood up yesterday. It’s called Task Force Lima, and it’ll be led by the department’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office. Officials said they want to understand the use cases for generative AI for defense, and make sure DoD’s efforts to implement the technology aren’t stovepiped. The task force will also spend time consulting with experts in industry and academia.
  • The National Security Agency is looking at new ways to recruit its next-generation workforce. The NSA is considering hybrid work and whether more of its operations can be done outside of classified facilities. Those previously unthought of flexibilities are being looked at as the NSA has openings for more than 3,000 positions. “We are in perhaps the largest growth in our agency’s history,” NSA Director Paul Nakasone said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Aug. 10. And Nakasone said the NSA is looking to hire more people because a large chunk of its workforce was hired in the late 1980’s and is now eligible for retirement.
  • The intelligence community aims to build its next-generation workforce by increasing workplace flexibilities and offering more regular rotational assignments. Those are among just some of the plans outlined in the 2023 National Intelligence Strategy released this week. The document sketches out the IC’s goals and principles amid intensifying competition with China, Russia and other threats. The strategy commits the intelligence community to overcoming long-standing challenges in the workforce arena, including through better vetting processes and more professional development opportunities.
    (2023 National Intelligence Strategy - Office of the Director of National Intelligence)
  • The Space Force is partnering with Johns Hopkins for a new professional military education program aimed at creating an interdisciplinary curriculum for space-based education. The intermediate and senior level programs introduce service members to military leadership and policy issues. The course will last a year, and students will get professional military education credit and a masters degree in international public policy. The first group of 51-students began the course in July. Space Force hopes to nearly double attendance in the program next year.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is extending the deadline for veterans and their survivors to receive the maximum benefit they qualify for under the toxic-exposure PACT Act. The VA is now giving veterans and their survivors until the end of the day on Aug. 14. to submit a benefits claim — or an intent to file a claim — and be eligible to have their benefits backdated to August 2022. That’s when President Biden signed the PACT Act into law. The VA is extending the deadline after experiencing technical issues on its website when it received a last-minute surge in benefits claims.
  • The last of 10 bid protests of the FirstSource 3 small business contract has been resolved and the Department Homeland Security has come out on top once again. The Government Accountability Office denied the Alliance Technology Group's complaint of the $10 billion IT products contract. Alliance Technology claimed its proposal was wrongly eliminated for failing to complete a required attachment when the relevant information was included in its proposal. GAO has either denied or dismissed eight of the 10 protests with the other two being withdrawn. DHS received more than 600 proposals for FirstSource 3 and has been working on the vehicle since April 2021.
    (GAO Protest Decision - Government Accountability Office)
  • An IRS watchdog finds the agency incorrectly flagged tens of thousands of taxpayers as deceased. The IRS confirms it locked the accounts of more than 20,000 taxpayers year, after erroneously flagging them as deceased. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reports the IRS may have incorrectly flagged another 14,000 taxpayers as deceased. The IRS routinely locks the accounts of taxpayers it believes to be dead, based on data pulled from the Social Security Administration. The IRS said it will conduct an annual reconciliation of its death data and SSA records.

Copyright © 2024 Federal News Network. All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Related Stories

    (Getty Images/iStockphoto/AmmentorpDK)federal telework

    Amid return-to-office calls, AFGE touts ‘overwhelming’ support of telework from feds

    Read more
    (Getty Images/iStockphoto/designer491)TSP

    Poll: What do participants think of the TSP’s mutual fund window?

    Read more