Last Friday was the deadline for the IRS to submit a plan for how it would spend its $80 billion of new funding. They unapologetically blew that deadline, saying only that it would be completed “in the coming weeks.”
This caught the attention of Howard Gleckman, the Senior Fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. The Tax Policy Center is the nation’s leading progressive tax organizations, making Gleckman’s most recent article in Forbes all the more notable, as he took the IRS to task for blowing a deadline for which it had six months to prepare.
For instance, Gleckman said:
“Treasury has been deeply involved in drafting the document since last summer. Yellen designated her most senior aide, Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo, to work with IRS to develop specific initiatives and timelines. It is not as if Yellen will be handed some surprise set of recommendations her staff never has seen before.”
Gleckman further observes:
“(T)he IRS isn’t writing this document on stone. Whatever the initial plan says, it almost surely will be revised as the agency’s needs change. The priority now is to get out something that will help assure Congress and the public that the agency has a credible plan for spending these substantial new dollars. And to get started on the needed changes.
“The delay is especially surprising since the agency has known for years that new money could be coming.”
“The IRS could have begun to develop a strategic plan for improving enforcement, taxpayer service, information technology, and all the rest as soon as Biden got elected. Indeed, if the IRS were a business, it would have developed a plan even before asking for funding. It only makes sense for any organization to first decide what it needs to do before figuring out what those initiatives would cost.”
Gleckman ends his article with this message:
“All I know is if somebody promised me $80 billion, or even $80,000, and all I had to do was describe by February 17 how I’d spend it, I’d be pretty sure to make the deadline.
Given the IRS’s (or maybe Treasury’s) delay, it seems only fair for the agency to waive those penalties and interest if I miss my April 18 filing deadline this spring. I’m looking forward to it.”
We’re not getting our hopes up.