IRS Under Fire over Wasted Billions of Dollars and Millions in Backlogs

Lawmakers continued to raise concerns about the Internal Revenue Service at a Congressional hearing this week as the agency deals with billions in misspent dollars, hefty processing backlogs, and complaints over poor customer service.

Lawmakers lobbed questions at the tax-collecting agency during the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing.

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Pressure from Lawmakers Grows As IRS Begins New Tax Season with ‘Continued Confusion’

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are pressuring the Internal Revenue Service over ongoing problems and unaddressed issues from last year’s filing season even as this year’s season is in full swing.

A bipartisan group of more than 100 lawmakers from the U.S. House and Senate sent a letter to the IRS raising concerns about “continued confusion” and “numerous problems” with the agency.

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Commentary: The IRS Can’t Get the Basics Right, So Don’t Add to Its Authority

All taxpayers are dealing with a disastrous filing season this year, with the IRS backed up on processing millions of returns and refunds from last year and communication from the agency nonexistent at best. But some taxpayers will have an added headache in the future as a result of an unnecessary new paperwork requirement that went into effect this year. Fortunately, however, legislation introduced by Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) would address this issue by removing the burdensome new requirement.

Ever since IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig claimed last year that the “tax gap,” or the gap between what the IRS collects and what it believes it is owed, could be as large as $1 trillion, politicians and legislators have been scrambling to propose ways to collect all that missing revenue. That’s despite the fact that more sober analyses show that the $1 trillion figure is probably wildly exaggerated, that it is functionally impossible to wholly prevent tax evasion, and that a far greater concern is the IRS’s inability to handle its taxpayer service responsibilities.

But as far as proposals to collect all this supposed “extra revenue” go, most of the focus has rightly been on schemes to drastically increase the IRS’s enforcement budget and allow the IRS to snoop on taxpayers’ financial accounts. But another more targeted change has already gone into effect, and is already causing problems.

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IRS Reverses Plans for Facial Recognition Software on Its Website

man in purple sweater sitting in front of a computer

On Monday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced in a statement that it would no longer be moving forward with previous plans to implement a controversial facial recognition software on its website in order for users to access certain tax records.

According to CNN, the IRS’s reversal came after widespread backlash by elected officials, privacy groups, and others who pointed out that such technology would constitute a massive overreach and violation of individual privacy. The IRS said in its statement that it would “transition away from using a third-party verification service involving facial recognition,” and would instead add an “additional authentication process.” The agency also vowed to “protect taxpayer data and ensure broad access to online tools.”

“The IRS takes taxpayer privacy and security seriously,” IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig said, “and we understand the concerns that have been raised. Everyone should feel comfortable with how their personal information is secured, and we are quickly pursuing short-term options that do not involve facial recognition.”

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Analysis: Five Controversial Policies Tucked Inside $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Passed by Congress

The final $1.2 trillion INVEST in America Act passed the Democrat-led House in a late night vote on Friday. Tucked away inside the infrastructure bill are some controversial policies, including these five:

1. The cryptocurrency tax provision in the Senate version of the bill was the subject of scrutiny from Democrats and Republicans. The language was not amended in the final bill that passed the House. The legislation includes an IRS reporting requirement for brokers of cryptocurrency transactions.

2. Under the “national motor vehicle per-mile user fee pilot” section of the bill, there is a pilot program to create a vehicle miles traveled system for taxing drivers based on their annual vehicle mileage. During his confirmation process, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg floated the idea of taxing motorists based on the number of miles they travel each year as a way to partly fund the legislation. The Biden administration backed off of full-scale development of the controversial proposal, settling instead for a pilot program.

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Commentary: $28 Per Day Triggers IRS Surveillance Program

The entire Democrat multi-trillion dollar socialist spending scam is bad for Americans, and bad for our economy. One particular provision that is especially terrible is their “IRS Surveillance” program, which would grant the government access to spy on nearly every Americans’ bank accounts. Their bill wants to use $80 billion of taxpayer funds to hire 85,000 more bureaucrats, nearly doubling the size of the IRS, to go through individuals’ personal banking information.

President Biden, and his colleagues in Congress, must have realized how unpopular this policy was with the American people, so they decided to make some “changes.” They created the impression they were raising the threshold in transactions individuals would need to hit before triggering the IRS to spy on their personal banking accounts.

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School Boards Group That Equated Parental Activism with ‘Domestic Terrorism’ Owes IRS $20 Million

A national education group that implied some parental activism is tantamount to “domestic terrorism” owes nearly $20 million to the IRS, according to tax forms reviewed by Just the News.

Most of that comes from “accrued pension liability,” as disclosed by the National School Boards Association’s 2017 and 2018 Form 990 filings. Unlike those two, the 2019 form — the most recently filed — does not include an itemized list under the federal income taxes subheading for “other liabilities.”

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Some Credit Unions Already Losing Accounts over Democrats’ Plan to Expand IRS Tracking

Outside of IRS building

Organizations representing community banks and credit unions are blasting the Democrats’ commitment to expanding IRS reporting requirements, calling the proposal a government overreach that would require financial institutions to spend more money on compliance costs at the expense of products and services for their members.

According to the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, customers at some credit unions have already decided to close their accounts over “government intrusion” concerns fueled by the prospect of such new rules taking effect.

The Democrats’ proposal would require financial institutions to report account activity above $600 to the IRS.

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Pelosi: ‘Yes,’ IRS ‘Tracking’ of Bank Accounts over $600 Still on Table as Opposition Grows

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., doubled down on the inclusion in a spending bill of a Democratic provision that would require banks to report to the IRS transactions for accounts holding over $600.

When asked Tuesday if the IRS monitoring would remain in Democrats’ proposed $3.5 trillion reconciliation legislation, Pelosi emphatically said “yes.”

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Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee Sends Letter to Sinema, Kelly Opposing Legislation to Allow IRS to Monitor Americans’ $600 or More Withdrawals and Deposits

Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee sent a letter to Arizona’s Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly urging them not to vote for legislation that would allow the IRS to monitor Americans’ bank accounts for transactions of $600 or more in withdrawals and deposits. The proposal is part of the Biden administration’s $3.5 trillion American Families Plan, the so-called “human infrastructure” bill. Scott Earl, the CEO & President of Mountain West Credit Union Association, also signed the letter, representing multiple credit unions. 

Yee, who is running for governor of Arizona, said, “As it stands now, this proposal would threaten the financial security of more than 100 million Americans from all demographics. If it passes, the government will conduct one of the largest data mining exercises in American history, risking the security of the banking system.”

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Businesses Push Back Against Biden Plan to Track All Bank Transactions over $600 Through the IRS

Joe Biden outside

A major component of President Joe Biden’s plan to raise revenue to pay for his trillions of dollars in new federal spending is now under fire from trade associations across the country.

The Biden administration has made clear its plan to beef up IRS auditing by expanding the agency’s funding and power. Biden’s latest proposal would require banks to turn over to the Internal Revenue Service bank account information for all accounts holding more than $600.

In a sharp pushback against the proposal, more than 40 trade associations, some of which represent entire industries or economic sectors, signed a letter to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., raising the alarm about the plan.

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Commentary: IRS Guidance Would Punish Small Business Owners with Families

Outside of IRS building

Most IRS guidance documents make for poor pleasure reading. Then again, most IRS guidance doesn’t effectively impose a retroactive tax on small business owners merely for having a family. IRS Notice 2021-49, issued on August 4, includes a bizarre interpretation of the law that will effectively raise taxes for business owners with close relatives, even if their family members have no involvement in the company.

A core goal of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed early on in the pandemic was to assist businesses in keeping employees on their payroll even as they dealt with the economic effects of lockdowns. Part of the plan was the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), which provides a tax credit against employer payroll tax liabilities.

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Many Pandemic Unemployed in Arizona Can Re-File for a Tax Rebate

Arizona taxpayers who received unemployment benefits in 2020 and filed their state tax return before the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) was enacted on March 11 can receive a new income tax refund.

That’s according to a Thursday announcement from the Arizona Department of Revenue. 

Congress passed the ARP to give communities money to address public health and economic recovery issues which resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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IRS: California Shrank by 165K Taxpayers, $8.8 Billion in Gross Income

Aerial shot of a California suburb

California residents of all ages and incomes are leaving for more tax friendly climates, and they’re taking billions of dollars in annual income with them.

The Internal Revenue Service recently released its latest taxpayer migration figures from tax years 2018 and 2019. They reflect migratory taxpayers who had filed in a different state or county between 2017 and 2018, of which 8 million did in that timespan.

California, the nation’s most-populous state, lost more tax filers and dependents on net than any other state.

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Commentary: Be Very Skeptical About Sen. Warren Throwing More Money at the IRS

Elizabeth Warren

Closing the “tax gap,” or revenue owed to the federal government that goes uncollected, has long been a favorite deus ex machina for lawmakers who want more revenue without having to raise rates. But Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Chuck Rettig really put dollar signs in lawmakers’ eyes when he claimed the tax gap could be as large as $1 trillion. Always eager to appear knowledgeable on policy issues, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is putting forward a plan to collect extra revenue that only gets worse the deeper you dig into it.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand how far off on an island Rettig is with his estimate. The IRS’s last official estimate of the size of the tax gap placed it at a far, far lower $381 billion. Even considering that this estimate may not have factored in underpayment from cryptocurrencies, offshore holdings, and pass-through businesses, the tax gap still remains far closer to $500 billion than to $1 trillion.

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Most Americans with Children to Receive Monthly Federal Payments Starting in July

Man with two children

Millions of American families will receive hundreds of dollars in regular federal payments beginning next month, the Internal Revenue Service said Monday.

The IRS announced July 15 as the start date for monthly child tax credit payments that would affect the vast majority of Americans with children.

“Eligible families will receive a payment of up to $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 per month for each child age 6 and above,” the IRS said in a statement.

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