The IRS is no one’s favorite agency; however, when it comes to political parties the democrats are definitely friendlier with the IRS than the republicans. Things have been on a steady decline between the IRS and republicans ever since it was discovered that the IRS had been targeting members of the so-called Tea Party. Since that time, the Republican, who have never been chummy with the IRS anyways, have been taking aim at the federal tax agency with a vengeance and it appears they aren’t done yet. New reports indicate that republicans on Capitol Hill are going for the throat, so-to-speak, as they look to further diminish the IRS’ annual budget.
Budget Strapped Even More?
Throughout this entire tax season, report after report indicated that the IRS was already extremely strapped for help. The agency continually complained of having too much work and not enough manpower to do it. Taxpayers had more complaints and got less help. The IRS was not able to perform as many audits and tax scams were up. All toll, the 2014 tax season left a lot to be desired for almost anyone who had to work with the IRS. However, that doesn’t appear to be of concern to republican lawmakers who recently proposed cutting the IRS’s budget by another 8 percent, which would knock it down to a total of $10.1 billion. That reduction could put a serious strain on the IRS, as it continues to be in charge of tax collections, as well as oversee the Affordable Care Act health plan.
No Allies for the IRS on Capitol Hill
However, House republicans have no problem cutting back on the IRS, especially after the many reports of the agency giving random employee bonuses, targeting conservative groups and failing to protect taxpayer’s privacy and rights. This soured relationship is nothing new between Republicans and the IRS, but this year it’s different because the GOP also controls the Senate. Like it or not, the president could be forced to sign a new sending bill with proposed budget cuts that could severely cripple the IRS. The president could refuse to sign the bill, but if he were to do so simply on the grounds that it was unfair to the IRS, he could suffer some serious backlash from the American public, who tend to distrust the IRS already.
According to House committee members who are pushing for the cuts, the IRS will need to streamline its efforts and policies and better prioritize its budget, but it will still have plenty of money to perform its duties. The proposal would also prevent the IRS from regulating the political activities of 501(c)(4) tax-exempt groups, such as Crossroads GPS. One other important proposal in the new spending bill would prevent the IRS from collecting Obamacare penalties from individuals who refuse to buy coverage, which could save these people hundreds or perhaps thousands of dollars. Of course, for its part, the IRS claims that further reducing the agency’s budget will only lead to more problems for taxpayers, less help and reduced security. Time will tell just how much affect the proposed spending will have, but in any case, the republicans are doing all they can to reduce the IRS’s power while they have an opportunity.