GOP lawmakers have issued a stark warning to the IRS over their handling of millions of taxpayer filings during the first few months of the Biden administration.
Republicans are threatening the agency with increased oversight due to their apparent unwillingness to explain the destruction of 30 million “information returns” in 2021.
According to Fox Business, these returns must be filed by small businesses and other such organizations to inform the IRS of their transactions.
At the time, the agency claimed that “software limitations” hindered their ability to process those returns, so they decided to simply destroy them.
These supposed “limitations” provided a rationale for a larger budget for the agency from Congress, to the tune of $80 billion.
Treasury secretary Janet Yellen claimed that the new and improved budget will help the IRS modernize its technology, Fox Business reported.
Republicans on Capitol Hill were not content with the IRS’ explanation and have demanded more information as to why the returns, which require a lot of time and expense to file, were destroyed.
GOP requests for such a report have been met with a flat refusal.
GOP members of the House Ways and Means Committee wrote a letter this week to IRS commissioner Charles Rettig demanding answers, Fox Business, reported.
The letter, co-signed by Reps. Kevin Brady of Texas and Tom Rice of South Carolina, said, “The Administration’s refusal to respond to the Committee, engage in a substantive discussion with staff about the request, and ultimately deny access to the decision memorandum obstructs the Congress’ important role to conduct oversight.”
Republicans argue that the lack of transparency on the issue raises red flags.
In May, the IRS told lawmakers that releasing such a memo would result in a “significant risk to the agency,” Fox reported.
Republicans aren’t buying it. “This blanket refusal from the IRS based on a perceived risk to the agency is unacceptable,” Brady and Rice wrote. “Congressional oversight does not stop whenever the executive branch identifies a perceived risk.”
“The decision to destroy information returns diligently prepared by millions of American taxpayers is ripe for congressional oversight.”
This latest instance of GOP ire toward the IRS is one in a long line of grievances.
GOP lawmakers have heavily resisted the agency’s efforts to monitor the bank accounts of citizens under the Biden administration.
Republicans have also decried the new IRS budget, which would see the agency hire 50,000 new employees over the next five years.
The IRS has even faced scrutiny from certain Democrats over their actions and practices.