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Democrats Obstruct Inquiry Into IRS’s Sudden Destruction of 30 Million Tax Returns

After the IRS destroyed 30 million tax returns, Democrats thwart Republicans’ effort for transparency
October 3, 2022 — 'Inflation Reduction Act'    — Blog    — Oversight    — Press Releases    — Supercharged IRS   

Democrats are blocking Congress from critical information regarding the IRS’s sudden and mysterious destruction of 30 million tax returns.

Despite repeated demands, the IRS has refused to provide the decision memorandum it used to justify the move, instead replying with a blanket denial that broadly prevents Congress from performing its appropriate oversight role.

Ways and Means Republicans, led by Oversight Subcommittee Leader Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC), proposed a Request for Information that would allow the Committee to obtain the memorandum to understand the agency’s decision-making process around the destruction of tax return information.

Democrats voted against this important request to hold Washington accountable. An important part of Republicans’ Commitment to America is to conduct rigorous oversight to rein in government abuse of power and corruption, and to provide real transparency.

READ: New Schumer-Manchin Bill Will Supercharge Long History of IRS Abuses 


Congress has oversight authority over the IRS and needs to review the agency’s decision to destroy tax returns.

  • The Ways and Means Committee is responsible for oversight of the IRS and the decision to destroy these paper returns warrants serious, substantive review. 
  • Earlier this year, Ways and Means directly requested a copy of the decision memorandum from the IRS.

  • Later, Ways and Means Republican Leader Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) sent a letter again requesting the decision memorandum and asking a series of questions about the issues surrounding the document destruction decision.

  • To date, the agency has not suggested any accommodation that would get the Committee the information it needs to conduct proper oversight.

  • The Committee is willing to work with the IRS on a reasonable way to arrange review of the document, including a confidential setting. 

IRS Decision Memo Information Request Timeline

  • May 4, 2022: TIGTA publishes report discussing the IRS decision to destroy 30 million paper-filed information returns in 2021. 
  • May 12, 2022: TIGTA provides briefing on the issue to W&M Committee staff and identifies the existence of an IRS decision memorandum. 
  • May 16, 2022: TIGTA provides answers to follow-up questions and indicates that TIGTA is checking with the IRS about whether it can provide the decision memorandum.
  • May 17, 2022: W&M staff make a written request for a copy of the decision memorandum directly to the IRS. 
  • May 18, 2022: IRS responds via email indicating that it will not release the document because it would pose a “significant risk to the agency.” Agency offered no alternative or accommodation.
  • June 13, 2022: Mr. Brady sends a letter again requesting the decision memorandum and asking a series of questions about the issues surrounding the document destruction decision. IRS has not responded as of the writing of this memo. 

About Resolutions of Inquiry: 

A Resolution of Inquiry (ROI) is a direct request or demand of the President or the head of an executive department to furnish the House with specific factual information in the Administration’s possession. ROIs become privileged on the floor if not reported to the House within 14 legislative days after filing.

Democrats effectively turned off the ability to use an ROI via a pandemic-related rule passed in the last Congress. That rule was continually extended until late July of this year when the majority finally turned on the ROI tool.