Two Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee are requesting information from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) activities that will be funded by appropriations from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
The IRA includes $79 billion in funding for the IRS, which economists estimate could raise as much as $101 billion in new federal revenue over ten years. The funding could allow the agency to hire as many as 87,000 new agents. Although Yellen has promised that the IRS will only use the funds to audit Americans making more than $400,000 annually, nothing in the legislation requires the IRS to do so.
Ways and Means ranking member Kevin Brady of Texas and Georgia Rep. Drew Ferguson tied the IRS expansion to a proposal that would have created reporting requirements for all accounts worth at least $600. Democrats failed to pass the scheme as part of the Build Back Better package.
“Fortunately for the American people, the Biden Administration and congressional Democrats failed to write this reporting regime into law,” the two wrote Thursday in a letter to Yellen, obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller. “Given this Administration’s repeated, brazen efforts to make law through improper executive action, we remind you that the Administration does not have legal authority to implement a bank surveillance scheme by executive action.”
Read the letter here:
Republicans have pledged to repeal the IRS funding should they retake control of Congress following the November midterms. Several House Republicans have promised to oppose any appropriations bill that includes the funding, which could lead to a government shutdown. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Freedom Caucus Calls On Republicans To Oppose Climate Package ‘Through All Means Available’)
“No matter what they deny, Democrats in Washington are unleashing an army of IRS agents on middle class taxpayers who work hard and don’t deserve to be harassed. Republicans want to protect the value-shopping families who are the primary target of 710,000 new audits – the working families most damaged in President Biden’s cruel economy,” Brady said in a statement to the Daily Caller.
The IRS audited 659,003 Americans in 2021, out of 160 million who submitted tax returns. Americans making less than $25,000 per year were audited five times more often than all other taxpayers, according to an analysis from Syracuse University. Lower-income individuals were audited three times more often than people making between $200,000 and $1,000,000.
The IRS released information from more than 120,000 taxpayers in August and September. The agency blamed a coding error which made public information included in a form used by tax exempt organizations. The information included individual names and business contact information, the IRS told the Daily Caller News Foundation, although “Social Security numbers, detailed account-holder information or individual income tax returns” were not made public.
“There is no way to sugarcoat the year 2021 in tax administration: From the perspective of tens of millions of taxpayers, tax administration did not work for them,” National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins wrote in her annual report to Congress.