WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) β€” After decades of staffing shortages at the IRS, the agency is hoping for a more efficient tax season this year.

Democrats in Congress last year granted the IRS $80 billion to tackle a massive backlog. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said the IRS has put that money to good use, hiring 5,000 more customer service agents who should process calls and refunds quicker.

“In addition to those 5,000, we’ve hired 700 people to be in our field offices who you can go visit and can help you with your taxes,” Adeyemo said.

Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union policy advocacy group, said while those investments will help, Treasury leaders are being overly optimistic.

“There’s still going to be headaches,” he said. “There’s still an unaddressed backlog of some 15 million tax returns.”

He said it could take years for new funding to make a real difference.

Earlier this month, House Republicans passed a bill that would cut funding to the IRS. That bill stands no chance in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Sepp also warned that some Americans will get a smaller refund than last year since pandemic stimulus checks and expanded child tax credits have expired.

“That is going to be a huge hit for people who’ve been counting on being able to get a tax credit against some pretty costly child care expenses,” he said.

He and the Treasury deputy secretary urged Americans to research changes to the tax code to maximize returns.

The IRS started accepting 2022 returns Monday. Tax day is April 18 this year.

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