On April 20, the US House of Representatives passed two bills along party lines aimed at holding the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) accountable for incompetence. The bills would target hiring at the IRS, and the agency’s ability to use the money it collects from user fees.
The IRS Oversight While Eliminating Spending (OWES) Act of 2016, would require the IRS deposit all user fees collected into a general fund at the Department of Treasury, and obtain Congressional approve before spending the money.
“H.R. 4885 would repeal the IRS’s longstanding legal authority to offset the cost of providing services to taxpayers with user fees,” the White House said, making it clear it would veto the bill if it arrived on the President’s desk, reports the Daily Caller. “The IRS has had this authority since 1995, and charges user fees for a variety of services. Repealing this authority would reduce overall IRS resources by roughly 4 percent, compounding budget cuts that have left the IRS severely underfunded and reversing the limited progress the IRS has been able to make on taxpayer service levels this year after receiving a modest funding increase in fiscal year 2016.”
Rep. Kristi Noem, a Republican from South Dakota, argued in favor of the bill, reports The Hill. “It’s still important to have discussions like this to reassure the taxpayers back home that this type of targeting will never happen,” Noem said, in reference to the 2013 scandal that exposed the IRS for allegedly targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny.
“To put an end to this [IRS] slush fund, the House voted to have all fees collected by the IRS deposited in the Treasury where they are ultimately controlled by representatives accountable to the people,” House Majority Leader Kevin Brady wrote in a statement, reports The Daily Caller. “We also passed a bill to ensure IRS employees actually pay their taxes. Nearly 1,600 IRS employees were delinquent on their taxes in the last decades.”
Brady added that “it is incomprehensible that we would trust people who don’t even pay their own taxes to collect others’ taxes.”