IRS service center in Kansas City survives round of closings

The Kansas City Internal Revenue Service center has survived a big round of budget cuts.
The Kansas City Internal Revenue Service center has survived a big round of budget cuts. File photo/The Kansas City Star

The big Internal Revenue Service center in Kansas City, opened in 2006 at a cost of about $370 million, will be one of two national IRS form processing centers that survive after a round of closings.

The Kansas City center, which employs about 4,400, will continue to process Form 1040 paper filings. A center in Ogden, Utah, will continue to process business filings.

Three other centers are slated to close — Covington, Ky., in 2019; Fresno, Calif., in 2021, and Austin, Texas, in 2024.

The consolidation plans were announced earlier this week by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who said budget cuts and growth in electronic filings contributed to the closings.

The Kansas City center’s existence is partly due to strong federal support from area politicians in Washington, who gave the push necessary to consolidate seven IRS offices in the metro area in new and remodeled facilities near Union Station.

The IRS project renovated the former main U.S. Post Office and added a new office building and parking structure immediately west of the historic building on Pershing Road.

Koskinen said the Kansas City center was selected to remain in operation after “a thorough review covering factors ranging from employee impact, cost savings, leases and building condition.”

But the commissioner also warned that tough decisions will continue to be made.

“The challenge here is that the IRS continues to face smaller budgets, with the budget decreasing $900 million since 2010, which has led to the IRS workforce already being reduced by 17,000 positions,” Koskinen wrote in the employee letter.

He noted that employment at the Kansas City center has dropped by 1,400 since 2011. The agency said Friday that the Kansas City center now employs 2,456 “permanent” workers and 1,927 seasonal workers.

“These budget reductions continue to be a major challenge throughout the country for the IRS and a source of continuing concern that we will continue to work on,” he wrote.

The IRS had begun consolidating its processing centers in 2003, merging 10 locations into the five that remained today.

Koskinen told Kansas City employees that he looked forward to maintaining the Kansas City office as “a vital part of the Missouri and Kansas community for many years to come.”

Diane Stafford: 816-234-4359, @kcstarstafford