In a new op-ed, the Wall Street Journal editorial board warns against potential electioneering by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which after extending the application deadline for government checks, sent a mailer to 9 million Americans informing them that they may be eligible to apply.
Last week, Ways and Means Republican Leader Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles demanding information behind the agency’s decision.
As the editorial board writes:
“Mr. Brady wants more information on how recipients were identified, given the IRS acknowledges that it is guessing about who might qualify. And he’s asking why the IRS is soliciting more tax returns, when it is still sitting on more than nine million unprocessed 2021 returns, part of 18 million returns awaiting an IRS response of one kind or another. The IRS has a long history of improper payments for programs like EITC, estimated to have cost taxpayers $16 billion in fiscal 2020.
“Perhaps the IRS’s new letter is nothing more than what it calls an ‘ongoing effort’ to make credit recipients more aware. But the timing and message sound suspiciously like a campaign advertisement for Democrats.”
Rep. Brady’s letter is one of several letters Ways and Means Republicans have sent in recent weeks to hold the Biden Administration accountable. Learn more here.
The IRS still has an enormous backlog of tax returns to process.
- Despite assurances from IRS Commissioner Rettig that the agency’s backlog would be cleared by the end of the year, a top IRS watchdog has warned the agency could fall short.
- 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.