The Hill: Dems seek more money for IRS
The following article was published on March 29, 2017. A link to the article can be found here.
By Naomi Joagoda
A group of House Democrats is calling for a funding increase for the IRS, after President Trump's budget proposed a slight funding reduction for the agency.
"It is time for Congress to increase funding that allows the IRS to provide timely taxpayer services; invest in advanced technology to combat the growing problem of refund overpayments, specifically identity theft refund fraud; adequately fund tax enforcement and oversight responsibilities including addressing cybersecurity threats; provide resources for investment; and lower our national debt," the lawmakers wrote in a letter dated Wednesday.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) took the lead on the letter, which was signed by nearly 50 Democratic lawmakers. The letter was sent to Reps. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), who lead the House Appropriations Committee's subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the IRS.
The lawmakers requested that the IRS receive funding for fiscal 2018 in the amount of $12.9 billion — the same amount that then-President Obama had requested for fiscal 2016.
The IRS's budget is currently about $11.2 billion, $900 million less than it was in fiscal 2010. Trump's budget calls for a $239 million funding cut for fiscal 2018.
Since 2010, the IRS has reduced its number of full-time employees by 17,000. The lawmakers noted that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during his confirmation hearing that the IRS is “understaffed and under-resourced.” They said that the IRS is "by far the most efficient tax administrator of all the major economies" and needs to function well in order to implement congressional priorities.
The lawmakers said that while the IRS's budgets and staffing levels have declined, its information technology needs were increasing. The IRS has been deferring IT investments, leading to aging hardware and software.
"This aging IT infrastructure puts the American tax system at risk of failure," the lawmakers wrote.
The House Democrats also said that the poor staffing levels at the IRS have hurt customer service and enforcement.
"Inadequate staffing has resulted in a cumulative reduction to enforcement revenue of over $30 billion between 2010 and 2016," they wrote.