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IRS Should Use Massive Funding Boost to Fix Numerous Existing Problems

WASHINGTON
– Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined his Republican Senate Finance Committee colleagues,
led by ranking member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), on a letter to Internal Revenue
Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig requesting detailed plans for how the
agency will spend the massive $80 billion injection of mandatory funding
recently granted to it under the Inflation
Reduction Act
, including how it will fix existing problems while satisfying
the critical need for improved customer service, transparency and
accountability.

 

Rather
than vague plans outlined by Treasury to date, the Senators request detailed
information on how the IRS will: 

  1. Prioritize
    taxpayer services;
  2. Guard
    against partisan targeting;
  3. Protect
    taxpayer privacy;
  4. Modernize
    technology; 
    and
  5. Track
    and publish timely and reliable reports to establish comprehensive transparency
    and accountability, allowing for meaningful independent oversight.

From
the letter:

 

On Prioritizing
Taxpayer Services:

 

“…In
2021, taxpayers waited at length for their refunds and approximately 250
million calls to the IRS went unanswered. 
Millions of taxpayers should not wait well over a year for their refund
or spend days trying to connect with the IRS. 
The situation is particularly dire for millions faced with 40-year high
inflation and in need of their tax refund to support their families. . . . The
IRS should use its additional funding to prioritize clearing the backlog of
returns and correspondence, and expediently pay taxpayers who are owed a
refund.” 

 

On Guarding
Taxpayers Against Partisan Targeting:

 

“Americans
should be able to trust that the government will enforce the law without regard
to political beliefs, religion, or party affiliation.  Compared to other government agencies, the
IRS has a broad and powerful reach into Americans’ daily lives.  The American people have a right to expect
the IRS will exercise its power in a fair, neutral, and impartial manner.  There should be no hint of religious or
political bias or partisanship; the IRS must take this responsibility
seriously.”

 

On Protecting
Taxpayer’s Privacy:

 

“The
IRS must hold taxpayer information securely in order to preserve its
confidentiality.  The law protecting
taxpayer information rests on sound principles that evolved from adverse
experiences with the misuse of tax information.

“Regarding
the ProPublica leak, the American people remain in the dark about who was
responsible and how it was allowed to happen. 
Although we understand TIGTA is investigating the leak to ProPublica,
the IRS is not a bystander in this ‘very damaging’ event.” 

 

On Modernizing
Technology:

 

“Modernizing
the IRS’s technology infrastructure must be a top priority.  With an additional $4.75 billion of the
supersized IRS funding allocated to technological improvements, and with the
IRS’s Integrated Modernization Business Plan providing loose sketches of what
the IRS wants to do and how it plans on doing it, there is room for realizing
productivity gains and accompanying improved taxpayer service.

“Refinement
and clear articulation of metrics and milestones that independent overseers can
objectively use for monitoring any IRS IT and/or business plan modernization
are required.”

 

On Transparency
and Accountability:

 

“The
IRS needs to report to Congress and the American people clear, reliable metrics
for monitoring productivity improvements and related customer service
improvements facilitated by its supersized budget. 

“With
an infusion of $80 billion of new funding, the IRS must be accountable, and
accountability requires transparency and timely communication with its
authorizing Committees.”

Read
the full letter
HERE.

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