NORQUIST: ‘They have had money to do things that they shouldn’t have done…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) As the tax-filing deadline draws near, the Internal Revenue Service is complaining that budget cuts and Congress’s $1.5 trillion tax cut bill have made it harder to keep up with what the agency says is an ever-expanding workload, according to the Washington Times.
The agency is auditing fewer tax returns than at any other time in the past 15 years, an indicator of more success in “draining the swamp” that President Trump promised on the campaign trail in 2016.
Last year’s rate was the lowest since 2002 — six out of every 1,000 taxpayers faced an audit.
Some taxpayer advocates said it’s good the IRS is finally being scrutinized.
“It should be a healthy sign if they’re auditing less,” Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said. “I would very much like to live in a world where the IRS doesn’t have to do too much auditing because the tax code is simple enough for people to understand.”
Norquist said the IRS is known for making tax-filing season more complicated, as a protest against budget cuts.
The agency has begged the Republican-controlled Congress for more money, but lawmakers have hesitated to provide more funding due to the IRS’s past targeting of conservative groups.
The 2018 spending bill passed last month allocates $4.9 billion to the IRS for enforcement, which includes “examinations,” or audits.
This is the same amount as in 2017, but more than a billion dollars under what it was in 2011.
Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, told the Times the IRS can’t carry out its job without more funding.
“This is an unsustainable situation for the agency that brings in 93 percent of the nation’s revenue, and it will worse with additional cuts proposed in the administration’s 2019 budget,” Reardon said.
The IRS is merely the vehicle through which Americans send their money as required by federal law, thus the agency does not “bring in” any resources to the government.
It can and does, however, abuse the responsibility it has in collecting taxes.
Norquist said the IRS breached the American public’s trust by spending its money to prosecute right-leaning groups.
“I know sometimes they argue, ‘Well, we don’t have enough money to do this,’” he said. “They have had money to do things that they shouldn’t have done.”
Liberty Headlines editor Paul Chesser contributed.