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Brady and Roskam Call on IRS to Focus on Helping American Taxpayers

January 06, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R- IL) expressed concern after reviewing the National Taxpayer Advocate’s annual report to Congress about the most serious problems taxpayers face when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

“When Americans contact the IRS, they need serious help – not another layer of bureaucracy. This comprehensive report highlights significant problems taxpayers face when dealing with the IRS and raises serious questions about the agency’s commitment to making it easier for people to do their taxes.  IRS employees’ main priority should be to deliver excellent customer service to hardworking taxpayers who fund our government and pay their salaries. Ways and Means Members will continue to conduct rigorous oversight of the IRS and its plans in the months ahead,” said Chairman Brady.

“Last year was terrible for taxpayers across the country. Even IRS Commissioner John Koskinen called the agency’s performance ‘abysmal.’ Too little has been done to address the IRS’s alarming targeting of taxpayers based on their personal, political, and religious beliefs, and to hold accountable those IRS employees responsible for these abuses. More work must be done to give the American people confidence their taxes are being assessed fairly. More work must be done to streamline and reform IRS operations so taxpayers can receive the help they need to pay their taxes correctly and without undue bureaucratic hassle. ‘Abysmal’ service is simply unacceptable. I applaud the National Taxpayer Advocate, Nina Olson, and her team, for their tireless work to stand up for taxpayers’ rights and demand excellence from an IRS plagued by mismanagement and abuse,” said Subcommittee Chairman Roskam.

Troubling Findings from the Report:

  • The IRS’s future plans will severely limit the IRS’s contact with taxpayers over the phone or in person.
    • While Ways and Means Republicans support moving some functions online, it is crucial that taxpayers be able to talk to IRS personnel to resolve problems.  It is also important for the IRS to hear directly from taxpayers about problems that need to be addressed.
  • The IRS is considering adopting additional user fees without analyzing their burden on taxpayers or their effect on voluntary compliance with the tax code.
  • The IRS’s expedited process for small organizations to obtain non-profit status has allowed numerous unqualified organizations to slip through the cracks and not pay taxes.
  • The IRS’s fraud prevention systems are woefully inadequate. The systems recently released millions of dollars of flagged refunds unintentionally and frequently traps legitimate returns in its review process, preventing taxpayers from receiving the refunds they are due in a timely manner.

Chairman Brady and Subcommittee Chairman Roskam are grateful for the National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson’s efforts on behalf of American taxpayers and look forward to working with her office to ensure American taxpayers receive the service they deserve.