COVINGTON, Ky. -- The Internal Revenue service will close its Covington facility by 2019.
The closure affects about 1,800 employees who handle paper tax returns. Those workers may be able to relocate to other positions within the agency.
Another 1,900 IRS jobs in Covington will be unaffected, city officials said Friday. The facility at 200 W. Fourth Street will be affected, but the building on Scott Boulevard will not be impacted.
The IRS is one of Covington's largest employers.
Of the 1,814 jobs affected, 176 will be positions from the IRS facility in Florence, Covington officials said.
The agency said it's been consolidating its paper processing facilities as more and more people file their tax returns online -- growing from 58 percent in 2008 to 86 percent in 2015. The IRS will be hiring temporary employees as needed for the 2017 tax filing season.
Covington employees who do work other than paper processing will be moved to another IRS facility in the Greater Cincinnati area in 2019. The IRS has about 4,100 employees here, including the 1,800 employees affected by Wednesday's announcement
"I do want to assure you that we plan to remain in the Cincinnati area, and the Submission Processing announcement is not a prelude to other major operational closures in the area," IRS Commissioner John A. Koskinen wrote in a message to Covington employees Wednesday.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development released a statement saying the state had not been informed of the decision before the announcement. They will work with the state's "Congressional delegation to obtain some more information and to seek alternatives."
IRS processing facilities in Fresno, California and Austin, Texas, also will stop handling paper returns, the Fresno office halting operations in 2021 and the Austin office in 2024. The agency will keep two facilities to handle paper returns: one in Kansas City for individual tax returns, and another in Ogden, Utah, for business tax returns.
Consolidating from five facilities to two will save about $266 million in the first five years, the IRS projected, and more than $53 million in the years after that.
The National Treasury Employees Union said it would fight to help its members,"many of whom have been loyal IRS employees for years."
"Their well-being is our top priority," the union said in a statement. "We want to make sure our members are treated fairly and that all steps are taken to avoid actions that may harm them."