GOP Lawmakers Call On IRS To Fix Audit System And Protect First Amendment

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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A pair of tax-writing lawmakers called on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Wednesday to stop unfair targeting of Americans and ensure taxpayers’ First Amendment rights aren’t being violated.

The statement release by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brandy and Oversight Subcommittee Chair Peter Roskam comes after two Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports showed flaws in the agency.

In the wake of a scandal involving the IRS unfairly targeting conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, the GAO found taxpayers could still be susceptible to wrongful selection “based on an organization’s religious, educational, political, or other views.”

The reports found the IRS lacks strong internal controls and consistent procedures for documenting audit selection. In some instances, the agency failed to document how cases were even selected.

We already knew the IRS was targeting political opponents of the administration when vetting groups applying for tax-exempt status. Now we have reports from GAO raising concerns about the audit selection process throughout IRS operations,” Roskam said in the joint statement. “The American people deserve better. We must do more to ensure the IRS treats all Americans fairly, holds employees responsible for these abuses accountable, and implements procedures to prevent this abuse from ever happening again,”

The lawmakers urged the agency to implement monitoring procedures to make sure audits are fair and to incorporate new objectives into its risk management system to help identify potential risk. They also called on the commissioner of Internal Revenue to provide clear auditing examples for employees to follow.

Republicans added language to the tax extenders package passed in December designed to reign-in the IRS’s power to prevent the agency from unjust targeting. This also stops the agency’s employees from using personal email accounts — as seen in the case of Lois Lerner.

Ways and Means members will hold the IRS accountable for quickly implementing GAO’s recommendations and finally treating all American taxpayers fairly,” Brady said in the statement.

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