Union calls for more funds for tax enforcement staff
- By FederalSoup Staff
- Jul 17, 2020
One way to put a dent in the record-high budget deficit is for the Trump administration and Congress devote more money to funding for the tax examination and collection operations of the IRS, the National Treasury Employees Union suggested.
In a Congressional Budget Office review of IRS funding and enforcement trends, the tax agency reported that an average of $441 billion, or 16% of the taxes owed annually between 2011 and 2013, were not paid, often as a result of taxpayers underreporting their income.
Enforcement efforts brought in an average of $60 billion of those unpaid taxes annually, CBO said, but the amount of funding and staff allocated to enforcement has declined by about 30% since 2010. This has resulted in the review of 46% fewer individual tax returns and 37% of corporate returns.
“CBO estimates that increasing the IRS’s funding for examinations and collections by $20 billion over 10 years would increase revenues by $61 billion and that increasing such funding by $40 billion over 10 years would increase revenues by $103 billion,” the report said.
“You don’t have to overhaul the tax code or rewrite policy to make the IRS more efficient,” NTEU National President Tony Reardon said in a statement on July 15, the pandemic-prompted new tax deadline. “Every year the government leaves money on the table by shortchanging the IRS’ ability to fully and fairly enforce the tax code. We hope that on this midsummer tax filing day, the administration and Congress will look to the career civil servants of the IRS to help our nation’s economic recovery.”
The same day, the House Appropriations Committee passed the Financial Services and General Government funding bill, which would add $606 million to the IRS’ budget in fiscal year 2021, providing $5.2 billion for IRS tax enforcement activities, a $196 million increase over the current level. The bill also included additional funding for taxpayer services, operations support and business systems modernization.
“The Treasury Department estimates that every $1 in enforcement can produce $5 in additional revenue. Recapturing these funds is a responsible first step in reducing the Federal deficit and ensuring the U.S. government can carry out its vital services,” according to the report accompanying the bill.