Congress Shouldn’t Let the IRS Be Both Collector and Preparer of Taxes

OPINION:

In 2010, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of Obamacare, “we need to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.” And what did we find? Higher health care costs and fewer choices and coverage options.

Now we find ourselves once again with Democrat control of Congress and the White House, and they want to put in place new government controls, influence and interference on everything from childcare to the car you buy.


Look no further than the Democrats’ $5 trillion tax and spending bill, which passed the US House of Representatives but is currently stalled in the US Senate. The 2,100-page bill is packed with trillions in new government spending and handouts to the wealthy, as well as new taxes that would hurt middle-class families — all things Democrats want to legislate before more Americans find out what theyre doing.

Among the lesser-known provisions included in the legislation is a section that initiates the process for the IRS to create a government-run tax preparation system — a longtime priority of Senator Bernie Sanders, of Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The Tax and Spending Bill, which creates more than 150 new government programs through historic borrowing and tax increases, relies on a supercharged IRS to help make its command agenda and control a reality. So it should come as no surprise to middle-class taxpayers that the goal of having the IRS file their taxes isn’t to cut red tape or simplify tax filing. It’s about further arming the IRS to go after hard-working Americans because Democrats want to use even more of your paycheck to fund their socialist priorities.

If this idea becomes a reality, Americans could – simply by using IRS tax preparation services – unknowingly open themselves up to an IRS investigation and hand over all of their personal financial information to an agency with a track record. troubling abuse of his authority. Creating a government-owned and operated tax preparation system means the IRS can track every keystroke and store personal taxpayer data. Forgot a zero or need to go back and change something when preparing your taxes? Hello IRS audit. A shift from one year to the next? The IRS might come knocking at your door. It’s as simple as that.

For the IRS, having a front row seat in an individual’s tax filing process from start to finish is a clear conflict of interest. How can an agency whose goal is to maximize the money it can get from the American people also ensure that Americans only pay what they owe? The short answer is that it can’t.

Americans already don’t trust the IRS to look after their best interests. When taxpayers were asked, “Who would you trust most to make sure you don’t pay more than you owe in taxes?” a Center-Forward poll found only 17% would trust the IRS. Similarly, when asked, “Who would you trust most to make sure you get the maximum possible tax refund?” this number has fallen to 11%.

The IRS is anything but a “safe place” for your personal information. When put to the test, the IRS repeatedly abused the trust of its primary client, the American people, for the benefit of its patron, the federal government. Again this year, an IRS employee leaked the tax returns of thousands of Americans for political purposes. Under this provision, the IRS would have even more information about individuals. Who’s to say they won’t?

• Representative Jason Smith is an American businessman and the US Representative for Missouri’s 8th Congressional District, serving since 2013. He is the Republican leader of the House Budget Committee.

Esther L. Steinbach