WASHINGTON — House Ways and Means Member Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) delivered the following opening remarks at a Subcommittee Hearing with the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.
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Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you for holding this hearing today, Mr. Chairman.
“I’d also like to thank you, Commissioner Rettig, for being here, and for your hard work and leadership at the IRS during an incredibly challenging time.
“I also want to thank the dedicated men and women of the IRS around the country that have worked hard during the pandemic to keep the agency running and to provide services to American taxpayers.
“Congress has asked the IRS to go above and beyond this year in response to the coronavirus crisis.
“The CARES Act required the IRS to take on a number of tasks, but none was greater than finding a way to send Economic Impact Payments to more than 160 million Americans. This was a huge undertaking, and we should acknowledge that the IRS got most of those payments out the door in just a matter of weeks. So we thank you for that Commissioner.
“Now with that said, I think you would acknowledge that the IRS still faces a number of challenges going forward, and I have concerns about how the agency plans to meet those challenges.
“There are a few main issues that I think the agency needs to address. I hope you will be able to provide the Committee with some answers on how the agency plans to do so.
“First, I am concerned about the current backlog of mail and unprocessed returns that has built up since the initial lockdowns in March and April.
“My understanding is that the IRS has millions of pieces of unopened mail and an even greater number of unprocessed tax returns. That means millions of taxpayers are still waiting on refunds for tax returns they may have filed as far back as March and April.
“Second, given that this mail backlog may not be resolved until well into 2021, I am concerned about the agency’s ability to prepare for what is likely to be another difficult filing season.
“And third, on Economic Impact Payments, I’ll say that the number of payments you sent out and how quickly you did so was very impressive.
“But I have heard from many of my constituents, and I know my colleagues have as well, about situations where folks are eligible for EIPs but still have not received them. So I would appreciate hearing more about what the IRS has done and will do to make sure everyone who is eligible for an EIP receives their payment.
“I also want to acknowledge that the IRS this week released guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program related to the tax treatment of expenses paid with a PPP loan that has not been forgiven. Many small businesses are struggling to stay afloat right now. We need to pull together to ensure these small businesses have relief, especially those forced to close their doors due to state and local COVID restrictions.
“I’d also like an update on the implementation of the bipartisan Taxpayer First Act.
“As you know, we enacted this important law last year as a result of a lot of bipartisan work on this committee.
“This historic overhaul of the IRS requires implementation work on the part of the agency, and I’d appreciate an update on your progress and what challenges you’re facing.
“I want to make sure we don’t let our response to the pandemic hinder the long-term work that still needs to be done to improve and modernize the IRS.
“With that, I thank the Commissioner for his testimony, and I yield back.”