For months, Republicans warned President Joe Biden’s push to hire 87,000 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents in the Inflation Act would pave the way for more audits on small businesses and families across America. The president, his administration, and Democrats in Congress have gone to great lengths to attempt to dispute this fact.
Yet Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen – when asked about the number of new audits funded by the Inflation Act before the House Ways and Means Committee last week – admitted the proportion of new audits on individuals and small businesses making under $400,000 would remain in line with historic levels.
According to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, more than 90% of audits are on families and small businesses below the $400,000 income threshold.
There has been great concern about this, and neither Congress nor the American people have received a straight answer from the Biden administration. When Yellen was asked to clarify if the total number of audits annually of families earning less than $400,000 should not increase, or if she meant the proportion of new audits targeting those families shouldn’t exceed the historical rate of over 90%, the secretary replied she meant the proportion – not the total number.
So, yet again, the secretary confirmed 90% of new audits under the Inflation Act would fall on small businesses and families earning less than $400,000. This is not where IRS should focus their resources at a time when just one in eight calls to the agency are answered by an IRS employee and 1.4 million returns await processing. The agency is clearly not doing enough to improve customer service.
The Biden administration would like you to believe they are only going after "tax cheats and billionaires." Between bank surveillance efforts, hiring 87,000 new IRS employees, proposing a new tip reporting program, and requiring the reporting of online payments above just $600 – there’s no denying this administration wants to tax, target and surveil everyday Americans’ private finances at every turn.
The administration claims the "vast majority" of the new IRS hires stem from attrition. Yet, Treasury’s head count decreased by only 12,000 over the last decade – far less than the 87,000 they are seeking to hire. Taking them at their word, this still results in 75,000 brand new IRS employees compared to 2012.
In our Commitment to America, House Republicans vowed to fight for a government that’s accountable, that works for – not against – the people. The American people don’t want or need more audits and red tape – they expect quality customer service from the agencies funded with their hard-earned tax dollars. That’s why the very first piece of legislation we brought to the floor of the House of Representatives under the Republican majority was the Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act.
This bill would defund President Biden’s army of IRS agents, ensuring families and small businesses aren’t targeted for new audits, while leaving in place funding for customer service upgrades and improvements.
The American people entrusted us with the majority. Whether it’s getting answers from the administration or moving away from the Left’s extremist policies pushed through under one-party rule – policies that have decimated our economy and eroded away Americans’ trust – we’re fighting every day to deliver on our agenda.
We are fortunate to live in the very best country in the world, but we’ve got a lot of work to do to get our nation back on track. It starts with holding the administration accountable.
Rep. Adrian Smith, a Republican, represents Nebraska's 3rd Congressional District. He is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.