It’s IRS Week!
It turns out that the Internal Revenue Service isn’t all that popular. And it turns out that Republicans in the House will highlight that in a bid to please their constituents! Imagine that!
This week will be IRS week in the House thanks to a couple of bills aimed it curing the IRS’s various ills, and a couple of bills aimed at giving taxpayers a little more control of the money they pay in.
The zinger is a bill from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI). It’s H.R. 3865, the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014, and it’s a response to the scandal that broke out last year when it was learned that the IRS was dragging its feet on applications for non-profit status from groups that appeared to have conservative agendas.
A similar bill that will see debate is H.R. 2531, the Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act. It would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from asking taxpayers questions regarding religious, political, or social beliefs.
In November, the IRS proposed a rule that would prohibit non-profits from doing voter registration and “get out the vote” activities. The IRS says it’s just defining clearly what’s allowed and what’s not, but Republicans aren’t buying that. They see it as an effort to curtail allowable activities that benefit their side. H.R. 2531 is the product of Illinois representative Peter Roskam (R).
The Taxpayer Transparency and Efficient Audit Act, H.R. 2530, would require the IRS to tell taxpayers when it shares their tax information with another government agency, and it limits the time people can be subjected to an IRS audit to one year. That seems nice, not having the IRS push your information out to the National Security Agency, and who wants a years-long audit? The sharing is actually more likely to happen in efforts to implement Obamacare, which requires the IRS to know your health insurance status and probably more.
Then there is the Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act. H.R. 1423 was introduced by Rep. James Lankford (R-OK), and it requires all federal agencies to describe all the programs they have going, their costs, the number of employees running each program, and possible duplication. …Because apparently we don’t already have a way to know all this stuff.
Also, the House will debate H.R. 3308, the Taxpayer Transparency Act. Product of Rep. Billy Long (R-MO). H.R. 3308 would require a Federal agency to include language in certain educational and advertising materials indicating that such materials are produced and disseminated at taxpayer expense. It’s another reaction to Obamacare and Republican concerns about the Department of Health and Human Service’s efforts in 2013 to promote the president’s signature health care law.
By the close of the week, there should be a lot of happy taxpayers out there! All this new information and all these controls on IRS abuses. Well…, we’ll see.
Happy IRS week, everyone!