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Q: Why did Congress double the size of the IRS budget?


A: President Biden and big spenders in Congress want more revenue to pay for big government programs. Under this administration, the gross federal debt has reached an unprecedented $31 trillion. That’s $93,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States. And with interest rates rising to combat 40-year high inflation, the debt burden will grow even worse. Within 10 years, the federal government’s budget will get squeezed to pay down interest on the debt. In the meantime, the Biden administration is laser-focused on raising taxes and collecting more revenue. Washington can’t tax, spend and borrow our way to prosperity. America’s founding principle of economic freedom promises each generation the opportunity to scale the ladder of economic mobility. When Washington meddles its way into your business and your wallet, the rhetoric used to rationalize the intrusion divides Americans into haves and have-nots. The solution to deliver equal outcomes versus equal opportunity invariably involves redistributing wealth. To that end, Congress approved in August a partisan spending bill dubbed “The Inflation Reduction Act.” President Biden signed the $700 billion spending bill into law after he had already signed a $2 trillion spending package last year that fueled the fires of 40-year high inflation. Moreover, by Biden’s definition, the haves and have-nots aren’t what it used to be. On top of everything else, President Biden issued an executive order to wipe away student loans for borrowers earning up to $250,000 a year. 


Either big spenders believe money grows on trees, or they don’t give a fig about fiscal discipline. The massive spending package finances pet projects and doubles the budget for the IRS to $80 billion, with the intent that the IRS would collect $124 billion through tax enforcement measures. The non-partisan budget scorekeeper in Congress estimates its impact on reducing inflation is negligible at best and may increase inflation in the near term. As a taxpayer watchdog, I’ve worked to strengthen efficiency, accountability and voluntary compliance through improved customer service at the IRS. I agree that narrowing the tax gap, the difference between taxes paid and taxes owed, is needed. Every taxpayer ought to pay every penny owed, without fear or favor from the federal tax collecting agency. By doubling the IRS budget, a new corps of tax auditors will be doubling down on American taxpayers.


Q: Why are you introducing legislation to revisit the new IRS spending?


A: As a longtime watchdog for improving IRS customer service, I have serious concerns with an extra $80 billion filling the coffers at the IRS. The federal government serves the taxpayer, not the other way around. So, the federal government ought to be held accountable and transparent to the American people. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota and I are teaming up to ensure the IRS is answerable to the American people to account for how it uses this money. Our bill would force the IRS to forfeit the funds every day it’s not in compliance. More than half of the new IRS budget is directed toward enforcement-related activities, including audits. Congress holds the purse strings and has a constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight of taxpayer dollars. Our bill would require the IRS to provide Congress with an annual plan detailing the use of the new funds. It would require quarterly updates from the IRS and the Department of Treasury to help flag any misuse of funds and protect taxpayer rights. In addition, if the IRS would fail to submit timely reports, the tax collecting agency would face financial penalties, much like taxpayers face fines and penalties for compliance failures. Congress is still waiting for complete answers from the IRS to account for massive data breaches violating taxpayer privacy. Don’t forget, the Democrats killed an amendment to the Inflation Reduction Act that would have prevented the new IRS funding from being used to audit taxpayers who earn less than $400,000. That tells you everything you need to know. My bill with Sen. Thune would hold the IRS’ feet to the fire on behalf of the taxpayer.

Author: Charles Grassley

Chuck Grassley of New Hartford has represented Iowa in the United States Senate since 1980.


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