HEARING ADVISORY: Chairman Boustany Announces Hearing with IRS Commissioner Koskinen

1102 Longworth House Office Building at 9:30 AM
January 30, 2014 — Hearing Advisory   

House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles W. Boustany Jr., M.D., (R-LA) today announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen. The hearing will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 5, 2014, in room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building.

The Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, the Honorable John Koskinen, will be the only witness at the hearing.  However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing. 


John Koskinen was sworn in as the 48th Commissioner of the IRS on December 23, 2013. This will be Commissioner Koskinen’s first appearance before Congress as Commissioner, allowing for discussion on a wide variety of issues before the IRS that affect American taxpayers. The hearing will focus on the ongoing investigation of IRS targeting, the newly proposed regulations concerning 501(c)(4) groups, the backlog of applications for tax-exempt status, IRS responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and improper payments of tax credits.

The IRS became the subject of intense public scrutiny in May 2013 when it was revealed that agency officials used inappropriate criteria in selecting 501(c)(4) tax-exempt applications based on name and policy position.  Despite the fact that Congressional investigations into the targeting have not concluded, on November 29, 2013, the Obama Administration issued new proposed regulations on 501(c)(4) organizations, the first rule change in more than 50 years.  In addition to these concerns, the IRS continues to struggle with an enormous backlog in applications for tax-exempt status.  There are now almost 8,000 501(c)(3) applications pending at the IRS that are more than a year old.

The hearing will also examine the IRS’s role in the income and data certification functions related to the ACA.   These new responsibilities come at a time when the agency is also under scrutiny for its failure to address the growth of improper payments.  Over the last ten years, the IRS erroneously made an estimated $140 billion in improper payments arising from refundable tax credits. Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the largest refundable tax credit, consistently ranks among the top sources for erroneous payments out of all government programs. Last year, 21 to 25 percent of EITC payments were erroneous, costing American taxpayers as much as $13.6 billion.

In announcing the hearing, Chairman Boustany said, “The IRS carries out the critical function of collecting federal revenue—this is why it is alarming that its priorities have gone so far astray.  Improper payments and identity theft continue to be major challenges for the agency and yet the IRS devotes more than 800 employees and millions of dollars to ObamaCare implementation.  It has acknowledged targeting groups based on their personal beliefs, but now is using that scandal to justify new proposed regulations that will silence the very groups that were abused.  The problems at the agency are many, and they are diverse, but what they all have in common is it will be up to Commissioner Koskinen to begin correcting them.


The hearing will focus on a variety of issues facing the IRS, including the ongoing investigation into the IRS’s targeting of certain tax exempt organizations, proposed regulations regarding 501(c)(4) groups, IRS responsibilities under the ACA, the 501(c)(3) backlog, and improper payments.


Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit written comments for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms.  From the Committee homepage, https://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.”  Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Click here to provide a submission for the record.”  Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information.  ATTACH your submission as a Word document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by the close of business on Wednesday, February 19, 2014.  Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings.  For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-3625 or (202) 225-5522.


The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.  As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee.  The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines.  Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below.  Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.

2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased.  All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears.  A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.

The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities.  If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested).  Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.

Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov/.