The House Ways and Means Committee released a report Wednesday showing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) prioritized bonuses for employees and union activity in the face of budget cuts.
Entitled “Doing Less with Less: The IRS’s Spending Decisions Harm Taxpayers,” the committee’s findings were staggering. They include:
- This IRS made a 73 percent reduction in user fees allocated to customer service, and a 6 percent decrease in total funding for taxpayer assistance.
- The IRS awarded $60 million in bonuses to its employees, at a time when the IRS did not yet know what its budget would be for fiscal year 2015.
- The amount of time IRS employees spent on union activity would allow for over 2 million additional taxpayer-assistance calls.
- If the IRS contracted with private debt collectors it could increase its own enforcement budget by more than $100 million every year.
The report comes just one week after IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said his agency could not handle customer demand:
Customer service – both on the phone and in person – has been far worse than anyone would want. It’s simply a matter of not having enough people to answer the phones and provide service at our walk-in sites as a result of cuts to our budget
“At all times, but especially during tax season, the IRS should put the taxpayer first. But instead, the agency cut funding for the very customer service that taxpayers rely on. The IRS has a lot to answer for, and the Ways and Means Committee is going to hold it accountable,” said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.
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Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., lashed into Koskinen even further during a hearing of the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Wednesday.
The IRS has blamed the decline in customer service on budget cuts. But Congress didn’t cut the IRS’s budget for taxpayer assistance from 2014 to 2015.
Let me repeat that. The amount of money Congress appropriated to the IRS for taxpayer assistance was the same this year as last year, but the level of service has decreased drastically.The Commissioner himself has said that taxpayer assistance this year is quote ‘abysmal.’
h/t: Fox News
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