WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined his colleagues on the Republican Senate Finance Committee, led by Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), on a letter to the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS ) Charles Rettig asking for detailed plans on how the agency will spend the massive $80 billion infusion of mandatory funding it was recently given under the Inflation Reduction Actincluding how it will solve existing problems while satisfying the critical need to improve customer service, transparency and accountability.
Rather than vague plans outlined by the Treasury to date, the senators are asking for detailed information on how the IRS:
- Prioritize taxpayer services;
- Guard against partisan targeting;
- Protect the privacy of taxpayers;
- Modernize technology; and
- Track and publish timely and reliable reports to establish full transparency and accountability, enabling meaningful independent oversight.
From the letter:
On the prioritization of taxpayer services:
“…In 2021, taxpayers waited a long time for their refunds and an estimated 250 million calls to the IRS went unanswered. Millions of taxpayers shouldn’t wait more than a year for their refunds or spend days trying to hook up with the IRS. The situation is especially dire for millions of people who have faced high inflation for 40 years and need their tax refunds to support their families. . . . L The IRS should use its additional funding to clear the backlog of filings and correspondence on a priority basis, and promptly pay taxpayers who are owed a refund.
On protecting taxpayers against partisan targeting:
“Americans should be able to trust that the government will enforce the law regardless of political beliefs, religion or party affiliation. Compared to other government agencies, the IRS has a broad and powerful reach into the daily lives of Americans. The American people have the right to expect the IRS to exercise its power fairly, neutrally, and impartially. There should be no indication of religious or political bias or partisanship; the IRS must take this responsibility seriously.
On protecting the privacy of taxpayers:
“The IRS must keep taxpayer information secure to preserve its confidentiality. The law protecting taxpayer information is based on sound principles that stem from adverse experiences with the misuse of tax information.
“Regarding the ProPublica leak, the American people still do not know who is responsible for it and how this could have happened. While we understand that TIGTA is investigating the ProPublica leak, the IRS is not a spectator in this “very damaging” event.
On modernizing technology:
“Upgrading the IRS’ technology infrastructure must be a top priority. With an additional $4.75 billion of the IRS’ supersized funding allocated to technology improvements, and with the IRS Integrated Modernization Business Plan providing loose sketches of what the IRS wants to do and how it plans to do so, there is room to achieve productivity gains and support improved service to taxpayers.
“There is a need to refine and clearly articulate the metrics and milestones that independent supervisors can use objectively to monitor any IT and/or IRS business plan modernization.”
On transparency and accountability:
“The IRS must be accountable to Congress and the American people with clear and reliable measures to monitor productivity improvements and related customer service improvements facilitated by its oversized budget.
“With an injection of $80 billion in new funding, the IRS must be accountable, and accountability requires transparency and prompt communication with its authorization committees.”