House Republicans Take on the IRS

Apr 15, 2015 | Rep. Peter Roskam •

April 15 has always been a stressful day for Americans as the deadline closes file their yearly taxes with the federal government. Yet in recent years, Tax Day has taken on a whole new significant as an out-of-control IRS has abused its power to go after Americans for their personal and political beliefs.

In 2012, the revelation that the IRS had targeted conservative organizations for their political beliefs sent shockwaves across the nation. This year alone, we have seen the IRS renew its contract with disgraced Healthcare.gov contractor CGI Federal and rehire hundreds of employees previously fired for misconduct or performance issues. Despite the Obama administration’s ongoing attempts to whitewash these stories, House Republicans remain steadfast in our commitment to root out IRS abuse and hold those responsible for such actions accountable.

This Congress, I have the distinct honor of serving as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight. Together with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, we have crafted a series of concrete reforms to rein in IRS and protect taxpayers from this government bureaucracy run amok.

This package includes legislation forcing the IRS to implement a robust Taxpayer Bill of Rights—a measure strongly backed by National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson—and a bill to prevent the IRS from targeting contributions to nonprofits with the gift tax.

Rep. Kenny Marchant’s (R-TX) timely IRS Email Transparency Act will prohibit agency employees from using their personal email accounts on the job.

The Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act by Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) makes targeting Americans for their political or religious beliefs a firing offense.

A bill introduced by Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA) grants organizations seeking tax-exempt status a fair and impartial appeal process in the event their application is denied by the IRS.

Rep. George Holding (R-NC) has a proposal to streamline the 501(c)4 application process by allowing groups to instead self-declare their tax-exempt status—rather than enduring indefinite delays by the IRS.

And Rep. Mike Kelly’s (R-PA) Taxpayer Knowledge of IRS Investigations Act will prevent the IRS from exploiting taxpayer privacy safeguards to cover employees who mishandle confidential taxpayer information.

These commonsense reforms will strengthen transparency and accountability at the IRS—an agency in desperate need of a complete makeover and cultural change. We need an IRS that works for—not against—the American people. With your help, House Republicans can succeed in reining in the IRS and restoring the American people’s trust.

— Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL)

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