Tax Administration:

Information on Revenue Agent Attrition

GGD-91-81: Published: Jun 10, 1991. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed revenue agent attrition at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), focusing on: (1) how long the agents stayed with IRS before they left and why; and (2) the impact on the amount of revenue that could be expected from an increase in examination staff.

GAO found that: (1) the overall annual rate of revenue agent attrition between March 1987 and April 1990 was approximately 6.5 percent; (2) the attrition rate for initiative hires was higher than that for noninitiative hires and decreased as the length of service increased; (3) attrition was more pronounced in certain IRS regions and districts; (4) the grade at which an agent was hired appeared to have no relationship to the attrition rate; (5) former IRS employees identified such reasons for leaving as accepting higher paying jobs, work was not as described when hired, job was not in line with education and experience, and too much job pressure; and (6) IRS adjusted its revenue estimating model to include attrition and thereby decreased its revenue estimated by $137.2 million.

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