Fresno IRS branch set to close, 800 people laid off Friday

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Hundreds of employees are being laid off from a southeast Fresno branch of the Internal Revenue Service.

It's part of the IRS's plan to consolidate 'submission processing' centers across the US.

Officials said this is happening because electronic filing continues to grow and fewer people are filing paper tax returns.

The Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board (FRWDB) said it was contacted by the IRS nearly two years ago about the closure.

For more than a year, they've been working with employees to help them find a new job.

"I've heard stories from some of them who have been there for 20-30 years, so it's really saddening to hear whenever they're leaving. A lot of them feel like it's their second home," said John Lorance, Government Sector and Rapid Response coordinator for the Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board.

Around 800 employees were laid off Friday from the Internal Revenue Service location at Butler & Peach in Southeast Fresno.

The facility is one of many submission processing sites across the country and one of several set to close permanently as more people file their taxes online.

More than a year ago, the Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board's Rapid Response Team started connecting with employees at the location.

"One of our duties is to get with those agencies that are closing or downsizing and try to, hopefully, avert that from happening, if we possibly can," Lorance said. "If we're not able to then we want to be able to help those employees get reemployed."

The FRWDB says some employees were eligible to apply for other positions within the IRS or other federal agencies.

For those who want to apply for a position they aren't qualified for, they work with them to gain the skills they need to apply.

They've also been working with the IRS management team to go on-site and offer different workshops for those employees facing layoffs.

"Resume building, interview skills and how to navigate USAjobs.gov, as an example, and trying to teach those individuals on how to get a new job and be effective in their job search," said Lorance.

At a career fair hosted at the Butler and Peach site earlier this week, the Rapid Response Team was able to connect with 150 participants who were being laid off Friday.

The Rapid Response Team is made up of multiple organizations to help those facing unemployment, such as the Employment Development Department, Fresno County Library, Clinica Sierra Vista and National Alliance on Mental Health.

Officials with the Rapid Response Team said they are there free of charge, to anyone who is facing similar job challenges.

"Hey, you're not alone. You have the workforce development board along with workforce connection, we're here to make sure you guys get on the right track, hopefully get a new career, and start with a new family," Lorance said.

Another 500 employees are expected to be laid off when the branch closes in September.

If you don't file your taxes electronically, the IRS wants you to know that you need to mail them to the Utah office, not the Fresno office anymore.

The new address is Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service Ogden, UT 84201-0002.

You can also find it here on page 115.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.