Scott, Finance Committee Republicans: IRS Requires Unbiased Oversight of Unprecedented Funding Boost

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, joined Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Finance Committee Republicans in sending a letter to Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comptroller General Gene Dodaro requesting an update on outstanding issues that GAO has previously advised the IRS to remedy. The senators note the IRS lacks substantive attention to oversight, transparency and accountability, raising the need for increased oversight by Congress and others. With roughly $80 billion in unbridled new funding, the IRS has no excuse for not addressing existing problems at the agency, including lack of taxpayer privacy protections in light of IRS data leaks. 

The letter:

  1. Requests information on what high-risk IRS issues previously identified by GAO remain outstanding;
  2. Requests details of the “significant deficiencies in internal controls” identified in GAO’s recent audit of IRS’s FY 2021 and FY 2020 financial statements;
  3. Requests details of the “unresolved information system security control deficiencies” identified in that audit;
  4. Asks for confirmation that IRS, prior to the IRA, already received more than $3 billion of supplemental funding for FY 2020 and FY 2021; and
  5. Asks for a list of outstanding GAO recommendations to the IRS for agency improvements and adherence to the law.

The senators wrote, “Among the many unfortunate characteristics of what P.L. 117-169 labels ‘enhancement’ of IRS resources is absence of any substantive enhancement to how the supersized funding will be managed and overseen. This works against accountability, transparency and protections against abuse, and improved internal funding controls. …

“Concerns over lack of additional oversight resources proportionate to the vast increase in IRS funding derived from partisan legislation are especially warranted given recent IRS abuses of taxpayers, including violations of civil rights, inappropriate and systematic targeting of non-profit applicants and groups based on political beliefs and inappropriate IRS mixing of politics with religious beliefs. …

“Congress and the American people rely on inspectors general, oversight boards where operational and functional, and, importantly, the Government Accountability Office to help provide accountability, transparency, and bipartisan inclusion in agencies uses of hard-earned taxpayer resources. … We ask that GAO provide initial guidance to Congress on its plans to help provide all of the American people eyes into what will transpire with the massive new IRS funding.” 

Read the full letter here.