September 22,2022

Finance Committee Republicans: IRS Should Use Massive Funding Boost to Fix Numerous Existing Problems

In letter to Rettig, Senators outline existing problems, call for improved customer service, transparency and accountability

Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senate Finance Committee Republicans, led by Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), sent 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;
  5. and 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