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Congressman Bruce Poliquin

Representing the 2nd District of Maine

Column: Increasing Accountability at the IRS

May 6, 2016
In The News

The IRS should work for Maine taxpayers—not the other way around.

This year’s tax season served as a reminder of the dysfunction at the IRS. Last year alone, the agency failed to answer eight million calls from Americans looking for answers.

Filing taxes is not an easy process. The tax code is thousands of pages and just under four million words long. The IRS should be working toward simplifying this process.

While the IRS was unavailable to answer eight million phone calls just this past year, they managed to hand out nearly $6 million in bonuses over the past five years. Government bureaucrats should not be paying themselves bonuses for a job poorly done. That is why I voted for legislation to stop the Treasury from paying bonuses to IRS employees. Civil servants in Washington should have to work as hard for their paycheck as working families in Maine and across our country.

The IRS collects millions of dollars in fees from taxpayers every year. These fees were deposited in an IRS slush fund and could be spent without any oversight from Congress.

To address this, the House recently passed the IRS Oversight While Eliminating Spending Act, a bill that eliminates the slush fund filled with fees the IRS collected from American taxpayers, and ensures the IRS cannot spend without Congressional oversight.

I was also troubled to discover that there was a complete lack of oversight in the hiring process at the IRS. I’m proud to join my colleagues in passing the No Hires for the Delinquent IRS Act, which requires the agency to certify that none of its employees have seriously delinquent tax debt. We also recently passed the Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act, which prevents the IRS from rehiring employees who were terminated for misconduct.

When I came to Washington, I was astonished by the culture of entitlement in the IRS. I’m confident that the work we have done with these votes will help bring more accountability to the agency.

There is certainly more work to be done to bring accountability to Washington. The current tax code is still far too confusing and we must work to simplify it to help hard working families save and allow all businesses in Maine to expand and hire more workers.

As Maine’s 2nd District Congressman, I am committed to continuing this work to make our government more efficient and to help our families, businesses and communities prosper.

 

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