Fact Check: Biden’s Supercharged IRS Includes Bank Reporting, Hardships for Taxpayers

September 16, 2021 — Blog    — Oversight    — Select Revenue Measures   

Democrats want to supercharge the IRS by throwing a massive $80 billion at the IRS. Just yesterday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged Congress to give the IRS more power in the lives of American taxpayers.

The White House is doubling down, releasing a misleading “Tax Enforcement Fact Sheet” privately among members of Congress in an attempt to debunk the real concerns Republicans have been raising about President Biden’s plan for supercharged IRS.

Here are the facts:

False White House Claim: “This proposal does not mandate reporting of individual transactions to the IRS. The President’s proposal requires that banks report the most basic, high level information on account inflows and outflows.”

False Biden Claim: “My plan would […] ask just for two pieces of information from the banks of these folks: the amounts that come into their bank accounts and what amounts go out of their bank accounts, so that the wealthy can no longer hide what they’re making and they can finally begin to pay their fair share of what they owe.”

FACT: Despite the claims made in his press conference today, Biden’s proposal requires more than two pieces of data from bank accounts. It demands unlimited transaction level information from both individual and business bank accounts.

  • President Biden’s invasive request for a bank “reporting regime” has long been a part of his plan. Even though House Democrats wrapped up their committee work on the $3.5 trillion tax hike and spending plan, House Ways and Means Democrats have been clear that they’re not finished negotiating backroom deals, including on bank reporting.
  • Democrats also voted against Rep. Jodey Arrington’s (R-TX) amendment that would have prevented more tax provisions, such as the bank reporting proposal, from being added to the text after being reported out of the Committee on Ways and Means.

False White House Claim: “Taxpayers won’t have to do anything at all. This will reduce burdens on compliant taxpayers by allowing the IRS to better target its audits to those actually hiding income and not paying their taxes. This isn’t an onerous requirement for banks as they already report interest and other information on bank accounts. This is just a bit more information building off of reports that banks already provide the IRS.”

FACT: The burden of this new reporting will fall on families, small businesses, and on their local banks.

  • According to the banks, the President’s financial reporting regime would expand the types of account holders currently subject to reporting and would require significant system changes.
  • Because the reporting is different from current reporting, the number cannot simply be inserted into the client’s tax returns, resulting in substantial increases in tax preparation time and costs for taxpayers.

False White House Claim: “This proposal was designed to help deliver on the Administration’s commitment to equity. President Biden’s proposal comes with an explicit guardrail keeping the IRS from increasing rates audits on those making less than $400,000 a year relative to historical averages, and because of this proposal, communities of color would be treated more fairly and be less likely to face costly and burdensome audits.”

FACT: Under Biden’s plan, audits will increase for taxpayers at all income levels.

  • Nonpartisan CBO analysis assumes that, under the President’s proposal, audit rates would “rise for all taxpayers”–including EITC audits and those of other lower and middle-income workers.

BOTTOM LINE: Republicans have introduced the Tax Gap Reform and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Enforcement Act, which allows for a better understanding of the tax gap, provides smarter enforcement, ensures the IRS uses all of the resources at its disposal, and addresses the expertise gap at the IRS.

Learn more about the bill here and below. CLICK HERE for a printable one-pager on President Biden’s Supercharged IRS.

  • Tax Gap Reform: Requires timely, annually-updated information on tax gap estimates in coordination with the Joint Committee on Taxation.
  • Taxpayer Protection: Prevents the IRS from targeting Americans for their political and ideological beliefs, codifies President Biden’s pledge to not increase audits of taxpayers making less than $400,000/year, and prohibits the establishment of new bank reporting requirements.
  • Smarter Enforcement: Requires the IRS to use existing data and tools to improve its corporate audit selection process and increase enforcement against high-income non-filers.
  • Closes the Expertise Gap: Creates an IRS enforcement fellowship pilot program to assist with the agency’s most complex audits and case selection decisions.  Before hiring thousands of new agents, Congress should test the effectiveness of increasing expertise in a targeted way.

CLICK HERE for a printable one-pager on President Biden’s Supercharged IRS.

SUBCOMMITTEE: Select Revenue Measures    SUBCOMMITTEE: Oversight