Congressman John Katko (R-N.Y.) recently introduced H.R. 3167, theTax Administration Integrity Act. This important legislation would prevent the IRS from using outsourced contractors for any work that puts these contractors in contact with confidential taxpayer information. ATR supports this legislation and urges all members of the Congress to vote for and otherwise support it.

In recent years, public trust in the IRS has plummeted because of revelations of the agency’s inappropriate targeting of conservative nonprofits. Unfortunately, this is just one of many transgressions the agency has been involved in. The IRS has also contracted outside organizations for work involving the personal tax information of organizations and individuals. In fact, earlier this year the agency hired a $1,000 an hour trial law firm to perform an audit, a highly unusual decision that prompted the ire of Congress.

The Tax Administration Integrity Act would put a stop to this by explicitly forbidding the agency from hiring outside contractors for any work involving confidential taxpayer information. The IRS already has 40,000 employees dedicated to enforcement efforts and has the ability to turn over any case to the IRS office of Chief Counsel or Department of Justice attorneys, both of which have sufficient legal expertise to handle any examination or audit. Put simply, there is no reason the IRS needs to waste finite taxpayer resources on an elite law firm.

Given the proven inability of the IRS to act in a responsible way, it is clear that Congress needs to tighten its oversight over the out of control agency. This legislation is a good step in this direction and will stop the agency unnecessarily putting taxpayer information at risk. ATR endorses the Tax Administration Integrity Act and urges all members of Congress to support this important legislation.