In order to pay for one of the largest government spending proposals in our nation’s history, President Joe Biden has plans to beef up the Internal Revenue Service‘s enforcement arm.
At least $381 billion in individual taxes goes uncollected annually, according to the agency’s own estimates for the years 2011 through 2013. Coupled with inflation and agency budget cuts, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig estimates that figure could be as high as $1 trillion annually.
To collect even half that amount, the IRS will need to bulk up its intrusive tax audits on everyday Americans and expand its enforcement arm with more personnel. The Biden administration has plans to improve the tax collectors’ reporting, financial surveillance and computer system — with an additional $80 billion in funding set aside for Washington’s most notorious bully.
In addition to doubling its enforcement efforts, under President Biden’s plan, banks and payment providers would be required to tell the IRS how much money comes into and out of individuals’ and business’ accounts, “going far beyond the existing reporting of interest income,” and giving the IRS “much more information about business income as it decides who to audit,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
What could possibly go wrong? The Biden administration has said audits on families making less than $400,000 won’t increase under his IRS proposal — yet, the administration also hasn’t defined who the IRS will be targeting with its new, robust collection arm.
Yes, everyone should be paying their fair share of taxes and dodgers should be called out — yet, it would be naïve to think the IRS is run by nonpartisan bureaucrats — especially under a Democratic administration.
In 2013, the agency had to apologize for targeting some conservative groups seeking nonprofit status, a scandal that cost the acting IRS commissioner his job. Even after the controversy was exposed, Lois Lerner, the director of the agency’s tax-exempt organizations division, refused to resign and was placed on taxpayer-funded leave instead. The IRS then declined to comment on her employment status, citing privacy issues.
Ms. Lerner admitted the IRS singled out tea-party and conservative groups, blamed lower-level staffers, and then refused to answer any more questions from Congress by pleading the Fifth. She was held in contempt of Congress and lawmakers called on the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to further investigate the matter.
But this was the Obama administration. Although Ms. Lerner did eventually leave the IRS, nothing came of the investigation. In 2015, the Justice Department closed the case and decided to charge no one. It’s exactly what then-President Obama predicted when the investigation started — that there wasn’t “even a smidgen of corruption,” within the IRS.
President Obama did explain at the time the “real scandal,” was that the IRS lacked the budget to do more audits. Enter the Biden administration. They’ve got a plan to solve just that.
Americans, at the very least, should be skeptical.