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Camp: IRS Stiffs Early Filers as It Dedicates Time to ObamaCare

October 23, 2013

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) sent a letter to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel questioning the agency’s decision to delay the start of tax filing season.  Camp said it appears the agency is putting a higher priority on implementing ObamaCare than tending to its core mission – processing nearly 150 million tax returns. 

“The IRS claims that it will be unable to process tax returns on time, despite being able to do so multiple times in the past when it has been responsible for adopting major changes to tax law.  Given that the agency has already had nine full months, and still has nearly three more, there is no reason the IRS should not be able to do its job on time. The failure of the IRS to start the filing season as scheduled will be a financial burden to potentially millions of hardworking taxpayers who depend on an early tax refund to pay their rent, make a car payment or pay off bills from the holiday season.  While the IRS says it cannot start the filing season on time, somehow it found the most essential operation to be the implementation of the President’s health care law.  The IRS needs to explain why implementing the President’s health care law is more important than processing tax returns in a timely manner.”

No later than November 6, the Chairman called on the IRS to provide the following information:

  • Is it your position that IRS officials working on ACA implementation are essential for the protection of “life or property?”
  • Notwithstanding the Plan, which deemed 81 IRS employees as essential for ObamaCare implementation, how many IRS employees worked in this capacity during the shutdown, and for how many hours?
  • What system changes, updates or testing is necessary to open the start of the filing season given that no substantive changes have been made to tax law over the last year?
  • Specifically, what additional changes or testing does the IRS need to complete prior to the opening of the filing season that are directly related to the implementation of ObamaCare?
  • How many IRS staff would have been required to have been deemed essential in order to ensure that tax filing season could open on time?
  • According to the IRS’s announcement, “nearly 150 million,” filers will face delays.  To date, how many applications for ObamaCare has the IRS been directly involved in processing? 
  • Did the IRS consult with the Treasury Department or White House in the creation of the Plan or regarding its operation during the shutdown? and
  • Provide all communication between IRS and the U.S. Department of the Treasury and/or White House regarding the Plan and/or ObamaCare implementation during the shutdown.

Background: Yesterday, the IRS announced it will delay the start of tax filing to as late as February 4, 2014 despite absolutely no new changes to tax law.  In light of the fact the IRS is 13 weeks away from the originally scheduled start of tax filing season, it claims it cannot make-up twelve work days lost during the government shutdown.