With less than a month before the 2022 midterm elections, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent a mailer to 9 million Americans informing them that they may be eligible to apply for tax credits. The IRS also took the unusual step of extending the typical deadline for such filing by a month. The timing of the mailers seems both “suspicious” and “political” – especially given that many recipients are likely ineligible, raising the risk for fraud and improper payments, warns Ways and Means Republican Leader Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) in a letter to IRS Commissioner Rettig.
Rep. Brady wrote:
“The suspicious timing of these letters right before an election appears political. The extension of time to file seems to contradict typical IRS procedures and is likely to have serious consequences for millions of Americans still waiting for tax refunds.
“With over 9 million unprocessed 2021 tax returns and over 18 million tax returns awaiting IRS action, soliciting more tax filings and delaying the agency’s end of year work will likely have a serious negative impact on basic tax administration.”
The IRS still has an enormous backlog of tax returns to process.
- The Biden Administration has failed to help American taxpayers this tax filing season by not addressing the IRS’s backlog, instead adding more to the agency’s plate and advocating for a supercharged IRS.
- Unable to process the backlog of tax returns, the IRS chose to destroy more than 30 million taxpayer documents last year.
The IRS has a history of political targeting and abuse of power.
- The IRS denied a Christian organization tax-exempt status because its emphasis on certain “Bible teachings are typically affiliated with the [Republican] Party and candidates.”
- This is particularly concerning given the agency’s prior history of targeting tax exempt groups for additional scrutiny based on their perceived political affiliation.
- Flashback: Former IRS official Lois Lerner apologized in 2013 that Tea Party groups and other groups had been targeted for audits of their applications for tax-exemption, which effectively delayed that status until they could no longer take effective part in the 2012 election.
Nearly half of COVID-era unemployment benefits were improperly paid, with one in five dollars going to fraudsters.
- In just two years, federal and state payments from three pandemic-related unemployment programs totaled more than $872 billion, but the amount lost to fraud is still not known.
- In February 2022, the White House estimated that 19 percent of total COVID unemployment insurance payments were improperly paid – offering a low estimate of over $80 billion.