Biden Administration Still Wants IRS to Snoop On Your Bank Account

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021, 3:50 PM PERMALINK

The Biden administration continues to push for the IRS to be given new powers to automatically snoop and store the bank account information of virtually every American.

Today during a Senate Banking Committee Hearing, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reaffirmed her support for the proposed IRS reporting requirement, would give the IRS new power to automatically access bank account, Venmo, PayPal, and CashApp account inflows and outflows for all business and personal accounts. 

This proposal is a clear priority for the Biden administration. Several weeks ago, Natasha Sarin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the U.S. Treasury Department, said that the Biden administration and congressional Democrats were still trying to insert IRS bank account snooping into the reconciliation bill.  

During the hearing, Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) posed Yellen a question, asking if she still supported this provision: 

“Can you tell the American people today, Secretary Yellen, whether you still support any form of the IRS bank reporting requirements your department proposed earlier this year, which would provide the IRS with currently undisclosed taxpayer information with the purpose of targeting, essentially, every single working American at minimum wage or higher?” 

She replied, confirming that she did, in fact, still support it:  

“I do support it. I think it’s important that the IRS have visibility into opaque income streams and that’s an important way to increase tax compliance.” 

Sen. Tim Scott then asked why the threshold was so low, given the “intended” purpose of this provision is to target millionaire and billionaire tax cheats: 

“If you’re looking to catch tax cheats, why in the world would you start with something as low as $600 and then revamp it to $10,000? Millionaires and billionaires are… certainly not making minimum wage.” 

Strangely, Yellen then explains that the low threshold, $600, is meant to avoid wealthy tax evaders from opening multiple accounts: 

“The low reporting requirement was meant to make evasion more difficult by opening multiple accounts.” 

This seems unlikely, as if someone was trying to shield $1 million from the Dems’ IRS bank account surveillance with a $600 reporting requirement, they’d have to open 1,666 bank accounts. The idea that this low threshold, or anywhere near it, was designed to prevent wealthy tax evaders from creating multiple accounts is not credible.

In reality, Democrats know that the IRS will need tools to use against the middle class in order to raise the amount of money they claim the IRS will raise through increased funding.  

Further, this reporting requirement would be a radical violation of privacy. This policy would give the federal government access to virtually every American’s account inflows and outflows. The proposal is not tailored nor targeted at all towards higher-income taxpayers or more “suspicious” behavior. Steven Rosenthal with the left-leaning Tax Policy Center explained that this reporting regime proposal would "bury the agency in a sea of unproductive information.” In fact, if a family's monthly expenses total just $833 a month, or about $200 a week, their bank information would be reported to the IRS. 

Additionally, the IRS already abuses current reporting laws. The IRS Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) regularly violated taxpayers’ rights and skirted or ignored due process requirements when investigating taxpayers for allegedly violating the existing $10,000 currency transaction reporting requirements, according to a 2017 report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).   

The report found numerous abuses – IRS agents often failed to properly identify themselves, seized financial assets before ever having talked or consulted with investigated taxpayers, didn’t attempt to verify reasonable explanations investigated taxpayers offered, and did not inform taxpayers of important information nor the purpose of interviews. The outcome of these cases was often determined by how willing a taxpayer was to engage in litigation against the government, rather than how severe the alleged offense was, a clear violation of the Eighth Amendment. To make matters worse, the vast majority of taxpayers targeted were innocent.  

In October, Senator Tim Scott, with Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), introduced the Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act,” which would bar the IRS from implementing this reporting regime.

Because Democrats have not given up on imposing this unpopular regime, this legislation is still vital. 

The new IRS reporting regime would violate taxpayer privacy, open taxpayers up to IRS harassment and abuse, and subject low- and middle-income taxpayers to grueling audits.

Photo Credit: "2021 Spring Meetings: Economic Recovery" by World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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Yellen Claims She Still Does Not Know Who Stole Thousands of Private IRS Files


Posted by ATR on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021, 3:50 PM PERMALINK

As the Biden administration seeks a dramatic increase in the size and power of the IRS, today Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she still does not know who stole the private taxpayer files of thousands of Americans, or who gave the files to the progressive group, ProPublica. The files cover at least 15 years worth of data, described by ProPublica as "a vast trove."

Yellen said: “We don’t know what the source of the leak of that information was, and I would say it’s premature to indicate that it came from the IRS.” 

It doesn't seem like there is a sense of urgency to get to the bottom of things. Meanwhile Democrats push for more IRS power, more IRS agents, more IRS audits.

When the existence of the "trove" was announced on June 8, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said under oath that an investigation was already underway:

I can confirm that there is an investigation with respect to the allegations that the source of the information in that article came from the Internal Revenue Service.

It's been nearly six months, and still there is nothing but radio silence, all while the American people are supposed to just shrug and accept the imposition of enormous new IRS powers -- including bank account snooping -- as proposed by Democrats in their tax and spend blowout bill. Over the decades, the IRS has proven to be unable or unwilling to safeguard taxpayer data.

Here is a timeline of Yellen's statements on the matter:

June 16, 2021 Janet Yellen: "We don't have any facts at this point," she said. "But it is absolutely a top priority to safeguard taxpayer data."

June 23, 2021 (44:00) Janet Yellen: “Let me just say one final word about the IRS. Many of you have expressed concern about the recent ProPublica report. I am deeply troubled by it as well. And it’s important to stress that an unauthorized disclosure of taxpayer information is a crime and that it has been referred to the FBI, federal prosecutors, and treasury department oversight authorities. We don’t yet know what occurred, but all is being done to get to the bottom of this criminal activity and we will be sure to update you as we learn more.” 

September 28, 2021 (2:12:06) Janet Yellen: “The ProPublica information represented an illegal revelation of taxpayer information. It’s an illegal act. And it is being investigated thoroughly by independent entities, law enforcement, and the inspector generals of Treasury and the IRS. And there really can’t be tolerance for that.”

“Just to be clear: we do not know the ProPublica information came from the IRS. That hasn’t been established.”

September 30, 2021 Rep. David Kustoff (R -Tenn): “How did ProPublica publish and obtain the information from the IRS about taxpayer information?”

Janet Yellen: “Independent agencies and law enforcement are currently looking into that and attempting to figure out how that occurred. That is clearly a crime and an utterly unacceptable thing and it will be prosecuted when it’s understood.”

November 30, 2021 Janet Yellen (1:50:59): “There are independent agencies, both within Treasury, the inspector General, also the FBI and DOJ, that are conducting investigations. We’re not privy, nothing has been reported out yet from those investigations that I’m aware of, but I believe those investigations are moving forward”

Janet Yellen (1:51:58): “We don’t know what the source of the leak of that information was, and I would say it’s premature to indicate that it came from the IRS.” 


Study Suggests Tobacco Heating Products Reduce Risk of Lung Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease

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Posted by Michael Mirsky on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021, 2:17 PM PERMALINK

A new study found a significant reduction in indicators of potential harm over six months for smokers switching to exclusive use of tobacco heating products compared with continuing to smoke cigarettes. This research, published in the journal of Internal and Emergency Medicine, represents the first ever long-term study showing sustained reduction in exposure to certain toxicants and indicators of potential harm in smokers switching completely to tobacco heating products. The results of the study unequivocally demonstrated the harm reduction benefits of tobacco heating products.

To test the effects of tobacco heating products, researchers conducted a randomized clinical study carried out at four sites across the UK. Participants included smokers aged 23 to 55 in good general health who either did or did not want to quit. What makes this design so unique is that it tested the risk reduction potential of tobacco heating products when used in a real world setting rather than in a controlled setting. Amazingly, the researchers found that, for most biomarkers measured, the reductions seen in people using tobacco heating products were similar to those in participants who stopped smoking completely.

These findings come on the heels of previous scientific studies which have shown that e-cigarettes are an effective way to get people to quit the deadly habit of smoking. According to the latest analysis from Public Health England, vaping has a positive association with successfully quitting smoking. They found that, in 2017 alone, 50,000 people used vaping products to stop smoking. Coupling their propensity for smoking cessation with the fact that vaping is 95% less harmful than combustible tobacco, it is hard to imagine why lawmakers oppose giving people access to these potentially life-saving products. 

Bolstering the arguments of those who want to reduce barriers to vaping products, this study provides essential data in the fight against vaping misinformation. The main findings of the study can be read below, while the full study is available here

Key Findings: 

  • Tobacco heating products were associated with a significant reduction in a biomarker for lung cancer risk

  • Participants who used tobacco heating products saw improvement in their HDL cholesterol. This is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease

  • Those who used tobacco heating products saw improvements in key indicators of lung health

These findings underscore the need for policies around vaping to be guided by science, not misinformation. Countries should look to Japan as a shining example of what can be accomplished with tobacco heating products. In Japan cigarette sales have decreased by 43% over the past five years, the greatest decrease in recorded history. This drastic reduction in cigarette use is a direct result of tobacco heating products. 

This new research represents an important step toward fully understanding the public health benefits of vaping products. Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health England recently stressed: "For anyone who smokes, particularly those who have already tried other methods, we strongly recommend they try vaping and stop smoking."

Lawmakers need to focus on helping smokers to quit their deadly habit, rather than pushing to restrict access to products that have the potential to save lives.

Photo Credit: Girl holding tobacco heating system device with tobacco stick by Marco Verch Professional Photography licensed under CC BY 2.0


Socialist Tax Hike Package Intends to Crowd Out Private Financing


Posted by Bryan Bashur on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021, 2:05 PM PERMALINK

The Democrats’ socialist spending package includes trillions of dollars in tax hikes and new spending on superfluous government projects such as subsidies for electric bicycles and planting trees. 

The bill also would expand the size and scope of the Small Business Administration (SBA). Specifically, section 100502 of the package appropriates nearly $4.5 billion to establish and run a new lending program that would provide direct loans to small businesses. New direct financing under this program runs the risk of reducing available capital from private lenders because the federal government will crowd out private competition. Increasing reliance on federal loans will also likely be met with future tax hikes on middle class Americans to fund the program. This will lead to a circular phenomenon where advocates of big government push for additional tax hikes to fund more federal spending.  

Under the new program, the loan amounts can go up to as much as $150,000, or even $1 million if the borrower is small government contractor or small manufacturer. The bill also only gives the SBA three months to publish “interim final rules” that would set the underwriting criteria for the program. 

It is hard to imagine how a federal bureaucracy that had a hard time processing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), is going to have a much easier time creating, establishing, and operating a whole new direct lending program. 

Make no mistake, small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. According to the SBA, there are 32.5 million small businesses in the United States employing over 46 percent of the private workforce. Additionally, small businesses “have accounted for 62% of net new job creation since 1995.”

However, loans from the federal government have flaws. According to a report by the SBA’s Inspector General (IG), as of June 2020, the SBA approved “more than $250 million in COVID-19 economic injury loans and advance grants to potentially ineligible businesses.” The SBA also approved nearly 300 duplicate economic injury loans amounting to more than $45 million in duplicate loans. The IG’s serious concerns with fraud control protections at the SBA are warranted. The establishment of a new direct loan program is bound to be filled with fraudulent transactions and waste millions of taxpayer dollars. 

Moreover, certain SBA loans have experienced significant rates of default. According to one study, from 2006-2015 the 10-year default rate was 65.6 percent for mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers, 46.2 percent for residential property managers, and 42.8 percent for multifamily housing construction. 

Clearly the SBA already has issues with its current loan programs. Taxpayer dollars could be put to better use reforming the existing programs.

While banks, credit unions, and online lenders all finance small businesses, banks continue to be the most prolific source of credit. According to a small business credit survey conducted by all twelve Federal Reserve Banks, in 2020, 42 percent of small businesses that applied for “a loan, line of credit, or cash advance” sought financing from a large bank; 43 percent sought financing from small banks; and 20 percent approached online lenders about financing opportunities. Additionally, according to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), since 2019 the number of commercial loans financed by credit unions increased by 12 percent and the dollar amount of commercial financed last year was “up by 22%.”

Private financing from bank and nonbank lenders is providing the necessary credit to small businesses. A new direct lending program from the SBA could increase the government’s foothold in loans and crowd out private lenders. 

Instead of appropriating billions of dollars in new funding for a redundant lending program, Congress should reform the SBA’s current 7(a) program to ensure that it runs efficiently. Unnecessary spending is fiscally irresponsible and will only further contribute to the inflation crisis the United States is already facing.

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Sen. Theresa Gavarone Makes “No New Taxes” Commitment in OH-09 Congressional Race


Posted by Adam L. Radman on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021, 11:45 AM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) commends state Sen. Theresa Gavarone for signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in her race for Ohio’s Ninth Congressional District seat. The Pledge is a written commitment to Buckeye State taxpayers that she will oppose and vote against all income tax hikes.

Candidates running for public office like to say they will not raise taxes, but often turn their backs on the taxpayer once elected. The idea of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is simple enough: Make them put their no-new-taxes rhetoric in writing, so the promise is much harder to break.

“Ohio voters are looking for solutions that get Americans back to work and grow the economy. I commend Sen. Gavarone for signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and promising to hold the line on taxes. It’s the first step in jump-starting the economy,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform.

There are currently 179 Pledge signers in the U.S. House and 44 Pledge signers in the U.S. Senate. 85% percent of all congressional Republicans have made the written commitment to oppose higher taxes. In contrast, ZERO congressional Democrats have made that promise.

President Biden has been championing a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, which includes the largest tax increase since 1968. These tax hikes will disproportionately hurt workers, retirees, consumers, and small businesses.

“Voters have a right to know where candidates stand on taxes before heading to the voting booth. The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is a simple litmus test that tells voters I’ll work to protect your wallet. I encourage all candidates for elected office to make this commitment today,” continued Norquist.

New candidates sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge regularly. For the most up-to-date information on this race or any other, please visit the ATR Pledge Database.

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Dem Reconciliation Bill Contains $13 Billion Tax on Crude Oil

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Posted by Mike Palicz on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021, 11:08 AM PERMALINK

Democrats' multi-trillion dollar tax and spend bill includes a nearly $13 billion energy tax on crude oil, a tax hike that will be paid by consumers in the form of rising gasoline prices.

Gas Tax Increase on Autopilot

Section 136701 of the bill would impose a 16.4 cents per barrel tax on crude oil and petroleum products beginning in 2022, a tax increase of $12.77 billion according estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

Further, the per barrel tax is pegged to inflation, meaning the tax hike is set on autopilot and will automatically ratchet up each year without Congress having to vote again. As gas prices and the cost of consumer goods rise, so too will the amount of the tax levied.

Exacerbates Gas Crisis

Democrats proposed oil tax comes when Americans are facing average gas prices of $3.49 per gallon throughout November, marking 12 straight months of rising gas prices and the highest retail gas prices since August of 2014.

In a stated effort to relieve rising gas prices, the Biden Administration announced last week that it was authorizing the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an amount only equal to roughly 2.5 days of U.S. crude oil consumption. Yet at the same time, Democrats and the Biden Administration continue to back a $13 billion tax on crude oil that will lead to rising gas prices and exacerbate the crisis.     

Violates Biden’s $400,000 Tax Pledge

This tax hike is a clear violation of President Biden’s pledge not to raise any form of tax on anyone making less than $400,000 per year. Officials within the administration have repeatedly admitted taxes that raise consumer energy prices are in violation of President Biden’s $400,000 tax pledge.

Biden’s own Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, previously acknowledged that increasing gas taxes would violate President Biden’s pledge.

“The President’s made a commitment that this administration will not raise taxes on people making less than $400,000 a year,” Buttigieg told Bloomberg Radio’s “Sound On” show in February. “And so that rules out approaches like the old-fashioned gas tax.” Buttigieg’s comments walked back his previous call to raise the gas tax and index it to inflation during confirmation hearings.

Americans for Tax Reform opposes the Democrat oil tax and urges all members of Congress to oppose President Biden’s multi-trillion dollar tax and spend bill. 

Photo Credit: Chris Yarzab

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Taxpayers in Indiana, Colorado, and Oregon Set to Receive Automatic Rebates


Posted by Dennis Hull on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021, 10:11 AM PERMALINK

As states project eye-popping budget surpluses, lawmakers are debating how much of that to put toward new spending, how much to set aside in the rainy day fund, and whether to return money back to taxpayers. Thanks to state laws that automatically trigger refunds when a certain level of surplus is achieved, taxpayers in Indiana, Colorado, and Oregon will soon be entitled to major tax refunds under existing automatic refund laws. 

Indiana reported a 14% increase in tax collections last year, driven primarily by sales taxes as consumers ramped up spending. After state reserves topped $3.9 billion, taxpayers will see most of last year’s budget surplus returned to their wallets under the Hoosier State’s automatic refund law. The law mandates a tax refund if reserves exceed 12.5% of general fund appropriations; this year, reserves topped 23%. 

In 2022, a total refund of $545 million will be divided evenly into estimated payments of $170 per taxpayer – a 62% increase from the last time state revenues triggered a refund in 2012. Even with the refund, Indiana will still have billions in surplus to spend – a nearly $3.4 billion figure that Rep. Greg Porter called an “embarrassment of riches.” 

Looking ahead to next year’s session, lawmakers are already discussing a potential reduction to Indiana’s 7% sales tax, which is higher than the rate in any surrounding state. Gov. Eric Holcomb said he is keeping an open mind as the tax cut debate continues. 

On the West Coast, for the fourth year in a row, Oregon taxpayers will benefit from a unique provision known as the “kicker” law. When government revenue collections exceed 2% of the initial forecast, the state is constitutionally obligated to refund the full amount of excess revenue. Since Oregon collected nearly $1.9 billion in surplus last year, taxpayers will get 17% of their 2020 income taxes back as a kicker credit – an average refund of $850. 

That $1.9 billion kicker is a shocking figure for many Oregon lawmakers, several of whom described an earlier, smaller forecast of a $1.18 billion surplus as “unbelievable” and “stunning.” This year’s kicker smashes the previous record of $1.6 billion that was paid out to taxpayers last year. 

But revenue continues to beat expectations in Oregon. Economists are already projecting another $558 million kicker in 2024, halfway through the next two-year budget. 

In Colorado, a constitutional provision, one viewed by many as the gold standard of state spending limits, will provide a temporary tax cut in addition to $454 million in tax rebates. Known as the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR), the 1992 amendment created an annual spending limit tied to population growth and inflation. That allowable revenue growth was 3.1% in FY 2020-21, when Colorado collected 8.2% more in revenue subject to TABOR than the previous year. As such, residents will enjoy an average sales tax refund of $69 for individual filers and $166 for those who filed jointly – the largest refund in 20 years. 

Colorado voters already approved an income tax cut last November by a 56–43% margin. Initiative 16 permanently cut the state income tax from 4.63% to 4.55%. But TABOR provisions will temporarily lower the rate even further, to 4.50% over the course of 2021. 

While the TABOR tax cut is temporary, the stage is set for the possibility of more permanent tax cuts in the future. Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, who has praised the TABOR tax relief, recently proposed bringing the state income tax to zero. Meanwhile, after the resounding success of Initiative 16 in 2020, another income tax cutting ballot measure has now garnered more than enough signatures to appear on next year’s ballot as Initiative 31. If voters approve, Initiative 31 would permanently lower the income tax rate from 4.55% to 4.40%. 

Thanks to automatic tax refund laws, taxpayers in these three states – Indiana, Oregon, and Colorado – will enjoy greater financial security in the coming year. Given rising prices for basic goods and services, state taxpayer refunds will provide relief to households at a time when it is greatly needed. It’s nice that existing law is automatically triggering such refunds in IN, CO, and OR. Lawmakers and governors elsewhere would do well to follow suit. 

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As Dems Try to Revive IRS Bank Account Snooping, Even Charlie Crist Says Don't Do It

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Posted by John Kartch on Monday, November 29th, 2021, 3:30 PM PERMALINK

"I ask that you avoid adding divisive IRS account reporting requirements to the package"

The Biden administration and Senate Democrats are trying to sneak the IRS bank account snooping provision back into the Democrats' enormous tax-and-spend bill.

But even congressman Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) is warning them to stop.

In a new letter to Senate Finance Committee chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and ranking member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Crist wrote:

The American public, tax policy experts, financial institutions, and state legislatures have lined up to oppose including this new policy in the House version of the bill. All share a concern that this policy is too broad and will likely disadvantage small businesses, community banks and working families – those most vulnerable as the economy strives to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The American people have shown firm, principled opposition to the snooping provision, as seen in this video compilation of on-the-street interviews.

Democrats openly refer to the bank snooping plan as a "comprehensive financial account reporting regime." Media reports indicate the Biden Treasury Dept. was "perplexed" that this is not a popular idea.

The Biden administration proposed to give the IRS new power to automatically access and store bank account, Venmo, Paypal, and CashApp account inflows and outflows for all business and personal accounts.

Even the Tax Policy Center says the plan is "poorly conceived," and will "bury the agency in a sea of unproductive information" and "won't help" and "will fail."

On Oct. 19 Tax Policy Center senior fellow Steve Rosenthal wrote on Twitter

"Biden's Treasury doubles-down on a poorly-conceived reporting proposal, casting its net far too wide, which may catch small businesses, but not the big fish (who cheat by stretching the tax law, not by hiding their cash flow). I tried to help at the start, but I gave up."

On Oct. 20 Rosenthal wrote on Twitter

"If Congress wants to collect more money from the rich, it must pass better tax rules, which measure and time income accurately and do not create ambiguities that aggressive taxpayers and their highly-paid advisers can exploit. Bank reports on aggregate cash flows won't help."

On Oct. 16 Rosenthal was quoted in The Hill

Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, whose former director now works in the Biden administration, said the proposal is too expansive and thinks bank lobbyists “have touched a raw nerve” with their customers who are concerned about privacy.

“I think at the end of the day, this bank proposal will fail,” he said.

On May 3, Rosenthal wrote:

"In practice, the IRS’ task would be daunting and, in fact, bury the agency in a sea of unproductive information.

Biden’s plan is expansive: deposits and withdrawals must be reported for every account, individual or business, at every financial institution. Then, to construct taxpayer-specific information, the IRS must collate taxpayer-account information across many different financial institutions. That is because taxpayers often hold multiple accounts. Yet, whether collated or not, deposits and withdrawals are not income, unlike wages or interest. And deposits and withdrawals cannot be netted to calculate income, without substantial adjustments."

On Oct. 18 Rosenthal was quoted in The Washington Post:

"It’s still a deeply flawed proposal,” Rosenthal said. “Even at $10,000, the Biden bank proposal is still too sweeping, throws a net very wide, and it’s hard to see what fish they want to catch here.”

The big Democrat bill provides funding to deploy 87,000 new IRS auditors and agents. The IRS plans a 50% increase in small business audits.

In the bill, IRS "enforcement" funding is 23 times greater than the amount allocated to "taxpayer services."

The bill will impose 1.2 million additional annual IRS audits; about half will hit households making less than $75k.

 

 

Photo Credit: "Tax Notice" by Catawba County, North Carolina (Government)


In Face of Surging Gas Prices Under Biden, DeSantis Proposes Tax Pause

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Posted by Doug Kellogg on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021, 12:23 PM PERMALINK

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has proposed pausing the state's gas tax to give weary Florida families a break as they are pummeled by high fuel prices due to inflation and restrictive regulations imposed by the Biden administration. 

The Governor announced the push to pause the gas tax, urging state legislators to step in, during visits to Daytona Beach and Jacksonville:

It is no wonder Gov. DeSantis is looking for relief, gas prices have hit their highest level since Thanksgiving 2012.

Floridians pay the 11th-highest gas tax burden in the nation, pausing the state's tax would reduce the total that people pay at the pump by 26.5 cents.

President Biden has done his part driving up energy costs by submarining the Keystone XL pipeline. Democrats in Congress are looking to add to the damage with their reconciliation bill, which includes an $8 billion home heating tax.

The Florida state legislative session starts on January 11, 2022.

Photo Credit: Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

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Norquist Warns Against Democrats’ Socialist Tax-and-Spend Package

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021, 5:20 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist appeared today on Fox Business Network’s Mornings with Maria to discuss the Democrats' socialist tax-and-spend plan, legislation they’ve named, “Build Back Better.” Norquist warned the bill will lead to higher taxes, reduced American global competitiveness, and tax carveouts for Democrats’ special interests.  

Norquist explained that the bill would give the US the highest top personal income tax rate in the OECD, the 3rd highest capital gains rate in the OECD, and create numerous tax carveouts for left wing special interests: 

“Well, it’s not good news and it could get worse. Remember, the Senate gets to play with this… The ideas that we worried about, like spying on your bank account, didn’t pass the House, but Biden still wants to do it and the Democratic Senators still want to do it. So, keep in mind, the list of horribles from the House: highest personal tax rate in the developed world, capital gains tax going up to 37 percent (the highest since Jimmy Carter), and then a series of targeted tax cuts – subsidies – that are political payoffs. Billions for trial lawyers to sue people… billions to the press… a tax cut for the rich people in blue states [through a SALT expansion].” 

Norquist also noted that the bill’s tax hikes on corporations will be primarily felt by middle-class workers and consumers:  

“One trillion dollars in “business taxes,” or corporate income taxes – that’s just a disguise tax on wages and higher prices. 70 percent of the corporate income tax is paid by workers directly in lower wages. We saw the opposite of that when Trump and the Republicans cut the corporate income tax and wages went up. Raise the corporate income tax, wages go down again. Politicians love the corporate income tax because it’s a way of hiding that they’re taxing the middle class.” 

Norquist also explained that this bill is part of the Biden administration's larger goal to impose a global minimum tax on corporations across the world: 

“The Democrats look at what’s happening to California and New York because people can choose to move to Texas and Tennessee and Florida. They realize that if they have the high taxes they want on Americans they have to protect against companies starting up in other countries, which is what’s going to happen – they’re going to drive investment overseas and they think with this corporate minimum tax that they can reduce that. Do you really believe that China will impose that tax on their businesses? Or Russia? It does give the Russians and the Europeans a veto over our tax cuts.” 

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