Politics

Westerman Introduces Bill to End IRS Backlog

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressmen Bruce Westerman (R-AR), co-lead Fred Keller (R-PA), and 11 cosponsors introduced the IRS PRIORITIES Act to address the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) overwhelming backlog of more than 8 million unprocessed individual tax returns. The bill prohibits the IRS from hiring additional tax enforcement personnel until it processes the tax returns from the past two years. The Members released the following statements:

“In his first year in office, President Biden prioritized excessive spending on a radical climate agenda and expansion of the welfare state, paid for in-part by cracking down on the so called ‘tax-gap,’ rather than returning Americans’ hard-earned money that many desperately needed with today’s high inflation,” said Rep. Westerman (AR-04). “The IRS has had two years to process the backlog with no progress. It is now time for Congress to step in and ensure that the American people receive their tax dollars the IRS has held for up to two years. This bill sets IRS priorities straight by ensuring the IRS performs its most basic function of processing returns in a timely manner. This backlog holds many individuals who need tax return information to take out a mortgage and, in many cases, apply for loans through the Small Business Administration in limbo. It is time to hold the IRS accountable and end this unacceptable backlog.”

“With a massive two-year backlog of unprocessed tax returns, the Internal Revenue Service should be focused on delivering those returns to the American people,” said Rep. Keller (PA-12). “Instead, President Biden has made it clear he wants to weaponize the IRS by hiring 80,000 new enforcers to spy on hardworking taxpayers. I am glad to join Congressman Westerman in co-leading this legislation to ensure the IRS gets its priorities straight.”

“While the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats have been attempting to spy on private bank accounts, my office has worked with hundreds of West Virginians who have encountered significant and unacceptable delays of their tax returns and refunds,” said Rep. McKinley (WV-01).“Instead of prioritizing invasive IRS surveillance on private bank accounts, we should be focused on expediting tax refunds to taxpayers across West Virginia and the country. This legislation will ensure that the IRS gets its real work done before attempting to divert valuable resources to its misdirected surveillance.”

“The IRS is failing the American people and must do more to address its unacceptable backlog,” said Rep. Carter (GA-01).  “As a result, small businesses and families are struggling to do basic things for which a completed tax return is prerequisite.  Our solution is simple: rather than weaponize the IRS to go after hardworking Americans, let’s ensure its focused on helping those desperately awaiting it to conduct its basic function.”

“The backlog at the Internal Revenue Service has reached beyond unacceptable levels, and the Biden Administration has refused to address this situation with the attention it deserves,” said Rep. Latta (OH-5). “People in Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District contact my office frequently to share they are experiencing significant delays or even worse, they have yet to received their tax returns after two years of waiting. This is entirely unacceptable and action must be taken. The American people deserve better from the IRS, especially as we approach the tax filing deadline.”

“Rather than addressing a two-year backlog of tax returns, the Biden Administration wants to weaponize the IRS in order to fund massive spending bills,” said Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15) “This legislation will ensure taxpayers still waiting for their returns are prioritized and they get what they are owed. This has gone on for too long and the Administration must be held accountable.”  

“The IRS already has a backlog of over 8 million tax returns from 2019 and 2020. Despite this, President Biden wants to supercharge the IRS even further by monitoring the transactions of everyday Americans via third-party applications to help fund his reckless tax-and-spending-spree,” said Rep. French Hill (AR-02). “I’m proud to join my friend and fellow Arkansan, Rep. Bruce Westerman, and Rep. Fred Keller in introducing this important bill that bars the IRS from hiring additional tax enforcement personnel until they tackle this backlog and American taxpayers receive their hard-earned money.”


Background


IRS PRIORITIES Act stands for IRS Processing Returns Instead Of Removing Innocent Taxpayers’ Income Every Season Act.

As of December 23, 2021, the IRS continued to have a backlog of 6 million individual tax returns and 2.3 million amended individual tax returns unprocessed from Tax Years (TY) 2019 and 2020.

Due to the excessive backlog, IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service will not accept cases solely involving amended tax returns, thereby leaving millions of Americans without the help paid for by their taxes. Instead of prioritizing this backlog and the taxpayer, President Biden has made it clear in his Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget proposal and the Build Back Better Act that his priority is on turning the IRS into a surveillance and enforcement watchdog. It is time to enact policy that prioritizes and protects the taxpayer.

The IRS PRIORITIES Act was co-sponsored by Representatives Fred Keller (PA-12), David McKinley (WV-01), Bob Latta (OH-05), Mary Miller (IL-15), Tim Burchett (TN-02), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), Bob Good (VA-05), Glenn Thompson (PA-15), Barry Moore (AL-02), Buddy Carter (GA-01), French Hill (AR-02), and Louie Gohmert (TX-01).

Read the bill in full here.

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