Smith, Schweikert Call Out Biden Administration for Cooking the Books on IRS E-File Study
WASHINGTON, DC – A think tank with ties to the liberal wing of the Democrat party is drawing scrutiny from Ways and Means Republicans after it was selected by the Biden Administration to receive $15 million in taxpayer funds to “review” an e-file program designed to make the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) both tax collector and tax preparer – a program for which the supposedly “impartial” organization has long advocated. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) and House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight Chairman David Schweikert (AZ-01) demanded the agency provide information on this decision-making in a new letter to Acting Commissioner of the IRS Douglas O’Donnell.
Democrats gave $15 million to the IRS to study the feasibility of a free e-file tax return system – which would give the agency control over both the filing and auditing of tax returns – despite the fact that taxpayers currently have numerous options for preparing and filing their taxes at their disposal. Tucked deep in the so called “Inflation Reduction Act” (IRA) Democrats inserted the funding to require an “independent third party” be hired to examine how the IRS might go about implementing such a program.
In their letter, Smith and Schweikert expose how the Biden Administration’s choice of New America would seem to violate the requirements of their own law:
“The characterization of New America as a strictly non-partisan, non-profit is surprising since the organization is known to be a left-leaning think tank. Specifically, some of the non-profit’s top officials include alumni from the Obama Administration, a former aide to Secretary Hillary Clinton, and other top officials of the organization are tied to left-leaning mainstream and openly left-wing media outlets. In March 2021, New America employees wrote favorably about Senator Warren’s Tax Simplification Act, which would set up a free filing system at the IRS. Specifically, New America wrote ‘the government…can and should build this tool in the coming years.’”
The Biden Administration has also appointed Ariel Jurow-Kleiman, a tax attorney and professor, to work with New America despite her having already expressed support publicly for the IRS tax preparer-tax filer scheme – saying, in part, “the IRS should adopt the most expansive version of the program, one that includes the maximum amount of taxpayer information and requires the least amount of taxpayer input for each individual taxpayer.” Smith and Schweikert make it clear that the Biden Administration appears to have set up a process to reach their predetermined point of view:
“Plain and simple – New America and Professor Jurow-Kleiman are neither objective nor independent third parties. They bring radically biased points of view that will undoubtably shade any evaluation of the issues they are tasked to evaluate. The Administration’s choice of New America and Professor Jurow-Kleiman not only ignores the law by failing to select an independent third party to conduct this study, but it is also illustrative of the fact that at a minimum, the perception is that the Administration has already predetermined that a government-directed efile system should exist regardless of what might be found in a truly non-partisan, independent, third-party review of the feasibility, the cost to develop and operate such a system, the IRS capacity to run such a system, or taxpayer opinions on the matter.”
Read the letter here.
- The Inflation Reduction Act requires an “independent third party” to report on “the overall feasibility, approach, schedule, cost, organization design, and Internal Revenue Service capacity to deliver such a direct efile tax return system.”
- To produce that report, President Biden’s IRS has hired New America – an organization populated by Democrat Party operatives and other left-leaning officials – which has already stated “the government…can and should build this tool in the coming years.”
- The Biden Administration has also appointed Ariel Jurow-Kleiman to assist in the supposedly “independent” review of the e-file proposal – an individual that is on the record openly championing the establishment of such a program at the IRS.
- An e-file program like that imagined in the IRA has been a long-time priority of Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to give the IRS control over both the filing and auditing of tax returns.