***The Iowa Standard is an independent media voice. We rely on the financial support of our readers to exist. Please consider a one-time sign of support or becoming a monthly supporter at $5, $10/month - whatever you think we're worth! If you’ve ever used the phrase “Fake News” — now YOU can actually DO something about it! You can also support us on PayPal at [email protected] or Venmo at Iowa-Standard-2018 or through the mail at: PO Box 112 Sioux Center, IA 51250

Q: What concerns are you hearing from Iowans about tax filing season?

Advertisement

A: Tax filing season is notoriously a stressful time for households, farms and businesses to get their financial information, receipts and documents in order. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the federal agency charged with collecting taxes and implementing the nation’s tax laws. As a watchdog for the American taxpayer, I work tirelessly to hold the IRS accountable to the people it serves. Over the years, I’ve learned not to let up on the oversight leash. The political targeting scandal during the Obama administration gave the IRS a self-inflicted black eye. And in just the last year, new IRS missteps have undermined the public trust once again. Last summer, a trove of private taxpayer information was leaked and published by a news outlet. So far, the Biden administration has failed to root out the source of the massive leak and that puts sensitive data and taxpayer privacy at risk in the height of tax season. What’s more, the Biden administration pursued boneheaded proposals to mandate bank reporting information for deposits of $600 on individual Americans and use facial recognition software to verify taxpayer identities to access their online accounts with little notice to taxpayers or Congress. These examples of government overreach don’t endear taxpayers to the tax collector or improve voluntary compliance. My IRS Whistleblower law has bolstered fairness for law-abiding taxpayers and enabled the IRS to collect more than $6 billion from tax cheats. From my work to enact taxpayer protections, improve noncompliance and modernize IRS operations, I’ve found there’s always issues at the IRS to straighten out; the pandemic created even more. The taxpayer correspondence backlog has reached a crisis level. The current tax filing season comes at a time when the IRS is staring at nearly 24 million unprocessed returns and correspondence (including 14.5 million returns from the 2020 tax year) and about 89 percent of IRS customer service calls go unanswered. It also comes when many eligible taxpayers are eager to receive an unclaimed Child Tax Credit and Pandemic Recovery Rebate Credit.

 

At a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing I informed the National Taxpayer Advocate about another aggravating backlog. My office puts a high priority on helping Iowans navigate red tape with federal agencies, including the IRS. I wrote the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act to improve taxpayer protections and upgrade customer service. The law created a National Taxpayer Advocate with local taxpayer advocates in each state. However, in the last year, my office has hit one roadblock after the other trying to get answers for Iowans about the status of their tax returns. I’ve also called on the Biden administration to get its workforce back into the office to serve taxpayers. And if remote work is demonstrably effective, this bipartisan legislation would require federal agencies to recommend the termination of leases for underused spaces to the Administrator of General Services to save taxpayer dollars.

 

Q: Where can Iowans go for tax assistance?

 

A: The IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free tax return preparation for qualified individuals. For more than five decades, the VITA program offers free tax help for those who make $58,000 or less; individuals with disabilities; and limited English-speaking taxpayers. The TCE program focuses on retirement-related tax issues for retirees age 60 and older. Taxpayers may check here to know what to bring to their appointment. The majority of the TCE sites are operated by the AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide program. To find the location most convenient for you, use the AARP Site Locator Tool or call (888)227-7669. For those eligible for free tax preparation services on more general tax issues, use the VITA Locator Tool to find the nearest location, generally found in community centers, schools, libraries or shopping malls. For Iowans who are looking for an opportunity to volunteer in either of these programs, you may learn more here. As a volunteer, you’ll be trained (online and in-person) to help serve neighbors in your local community. The hours are flexible and the commitment level is up to you. Even if you’re not a tax expert, you can receive needed training or serve a role that doesn’t need certification.

Author: Charles Grassley

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

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

1 COMMENT

  1. All the more reason to repeal the 16th Amendment. Until 1913, the federal government never had an one-to-one relationship with citizens. That was by design with the Founding Fathers.

    As explained by James Madison in the Federalist Papers #10; “The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number, is a shilling saved to their own pockets.” A similar sentiment is also expressed in other places.

    With the passage of the 16th and over time, we continue to see end runs around OUR Bill of Rights without due process. To whit:

    1st Amendment, if a pastor speaks out against or for a particular government action or public servant, that nonprofit status is in jeopardy. If a Tea Party supporter donates to the organization, the IRS will audit them, the donor’s info is passed to the DOJ as a possible enemy of the State and further distributed to other federal agencies for investigation of possible violations. Not much different from the claim laid against the King in OUR Declaration of Independence, “He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance.”

    2nd Amendment; having been red flagged as an enemy of the State, perhaps weapons should be sized? Perhaps the protestor need to be SWATed?

    3rd Amendment; they won’t occupy your domicile, but is that any different than a lien or seizure of forfeiture?

    4th Amendment; our documents and papers must be turned over without warrant for examination by IRS agents.

    5th Amendment; hahaha.

    And so on.

    Prior to the 16th, the federal government presented a bill to each State based on the enumeration of its inhabitants. In other words, it was each State that stood between the federal government and the people and haggle over the bill. Thus, while the 16th is “constitutional”, having been duly ratified by 3/4ths of the States, it is morally wrong and goes against everything in which We The People initially entrusted to the federal government.

    And no wonder. The proposal was pitched to the people in bad faith, premised on “covetousness”. That only the rich 1% will be taxed and it would only be a token small percentage. If true, why didn’t they include their formulation within the text of the proposal, instead of leaving it open ended?

    So open-ended, that Bidenius Pervertus is adding another 80,000 agents and examining every transaction greater than $600. Why $600? Why not every penny? Don’t worry, that’s for next year.

    Folks, it boils down to this, repeal the 16th, send the agents packing to find real jobs in the private sector. And let the federal government find revenue the old fashioned way as proscribed by the Constitution. And if it can’t find enough $$$, then start cutting back on its budget and live within its means.

    But with the current crop of politicians, they love the agony of We The People because it makes them look good by receiving complaints and requests for assistance over taxes and pretending to do something about it.

    And thus the Kabuki Theater dances on.

    When elected Senator, I will immediately put forward an Amendment Proposal to repeal the 16th and do everything possible to gain the necessary 2/3rds support in both chambers of Congress so that it can be passed and sent to the States for ratification. I will also put a spotlight on the enemies in Congress that refuse to support this proposal. I use the term “Enemies” because by not supporting this, they would rather keep you under the jackboot of IRS agents and keep America Last.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here