IRS closes facilities in broad real-estate consolidation plan

Tuesday - 5/22/2012, 6:26pm EDT

In a broad move to wring more savings from real estate costs, the IRS announced it will close 43 small offices over the next two years and reduce space at many other larger facilities.

"Given today's tight budget environment, we have to be willing to make the tough but responsible calls to save taxpayer dollars," IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said in a statement. "Cutting and consolidating our real estate is a responsible way we can save money. It's an important addition to our growing portfolio of cost-saving measures."

None of the offices to be shuttered provide taxpayer assistance, and all have fewer than 25 employees. The IRS said taxpayers would be only minimally affected by the closures.

IRS also plans to consolidate multiple offices "within the same commuting area" and will increase the use of desk-sharing and telework at other offices to save space.

The agency estimates its space-saving measures will save more than $40 million over the next two years and that, because the closures are permanent, the savings will continue to redound in the future.

Part of a larger governmentwide mandate

The closures represent nearly 7 percent of the agency's 650 facilities and will lead to a 945,000-square foot reduction in space by the end of fiscal-year 2013.

The IRS closures are part of a mandate spelled out in a 2010 memo from President Barack Obama directing agencies to come up with at least $3 billion in savings from civilian real property by the end of the fiscal year.

That goal was later amended to $3.5 billion because agencies had shown strong early success at getting rid of excess or unused property.

Earlier this month, Jeffrey Zients, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, issued a memo, freezing agencies' civilian real-estate inventories and requiring the acquisition of new building space to be offset by consolidations or disposals of existing property.

Click here for a list of IRS offices to be closed.

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