February 03,2015

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Wyden Says Unfair Tax System Hits Middle-Class Families Hardest

Top Democrat Says Lack of Resources at IRS Enables Tax Cheats and Scammers at the Expense of Middle-Class Americans

WASHINGTON – At a hearing on the FY2016 budget of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said that the U.S. tax system is unfair to middle-class Americans because it is too complex and the IRS doesn’t have adequate resources to help taxpayers effectively. According to the independent IRS Taxpayer Advocate, this is “the most serious problem” facing taxpayers.

“The inherent unfairness of our tax system is a blow that falls hardest on the middle class,” Wyden said. “Honest taxpayers have to make up the difference when scofflaws don’t pay what they owe, and that’s wrong. But until Congress simplifies and restores fairness to our broken tax code, multinationals and those with high-priced accountants will continue to find loopholes.”

Wyden also said cuts in the IRS budget in recent years have slowed the agency’s service dramatically, meaning taxpayers can’t get timely assistance getting a refund or protecting themselves from scams and identify theft. Wyden called on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who testified at Tuesday’s hearing, to work with the Finance Committee to make the tax system work better for middle-class families.

“Every year, families spend more time and money filing their taxes,” Wyden said. “Meanwhile the tax code hasn’t gotten any simpler, and the lack of resources at the IRS has slowed service to a crawl. It’s only fair to the middle class to ensure the IRS can crack down when tax cheats break the rules.”

Wyden’s full opening statement is available here. Video is available here.