Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced legislation that would nearly triple the budget of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Warren submitted the bill on Monday, which would increase the revenue service’s budget to $31.5 billion in an effort to improve their ability to, according to her, go after wealthy people for not paying their taxes.
“For too long, the wealthiest Americans and big corporations have been able to use lawyers, accountants, and lobbyists to avoid paying their fair share — and budget cuts have hollowed out the IRS so it doesn’t have the resources to go after wealthy tax cheats,” the congresswoman said.
“The IRS should have more — and more stable — resources to do its job, and my bill would do just that,” said Warren (D-MA).
The budget for the IRS in fiscal year 2021 is $12 billion as was proposed by the Trump administration.
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In addition to nearly tripling the IRS budget, Elizabeth Warren’s bill would increase the reporting requirements for banks to disclose information on their clients.
The legislation proposes increased tax penalties for underpayment on those earning over $2 million and adds additional charges for those having misstatements on their returns.
The bill submitted by Warren would also require the IRS to submit annual reports to Congress outlining their efforts to target the wealthy and, according to The Hill, “whether there are any racial disparities in the agency’s enforcement activities.”
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The IRS budget over the past several years has actually increased, not decreased – including under the Trump administration.
“The administration recognizes that spending on the IRS is special. It actually raises money,” said Chuck Marr, director of federal tax policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, last year after a $12 billion budget proposal.
President Biden last week intimated his intention to double the size of the IRS, hiring 87,000 new workers and increasing the budget by $80 billion over the next decade.
The Biden administration has been touting a poll from Data for Progress which claims 61% of voters support increased enforcement by the IRS.
The Hill reports, however, that “some Republicans have expressed skepticism about giving the IRS a significant funding increase,” noting lawmakers are concerned “increase(d) enforcement could infringe upon taxpayers’ rights.”
A conservative anti-tax group recently released an ad warning about the power being proposed for the IRS.
“If Joe Biden gets his way, they are coming: IRS agents,” the ad’s narrator warns. “Biden’s massive tax increase plan includes a staggering $80 billion to help recruit an army of IRS agents.”
Warren’s plan goes even further than that.
Conservative consternation toward the IRS, aside from their disdain for taxes, may still be fresh due to the scandal under former President Barack Obama in which the department was used to target his political opponents.
The Department of Justice reviewed the scandal in which Tea Party organizations were targeted by the Obama IRS for more rigorous tax-exempt scrutiny. They were discovered to have used terms such as “Tea Party” or “Patriots” to delay applications.
The DOJ announced in October of 2017 that a settlement with those groups had been reached.
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