Norquist: GOP Death Tax Repeal is Pro-Growth, Pro-Jobs, and Pro-Competition

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Posted by Toni-Anne Barry on Thursday, October 12th, 2017, 1:00 PM PERMALINK

Today, ATR president Grover Norquist appeared as a panelist for the 60 Plus Association’s event on Death Tax repeal. Norquist spoke about the importance of permanent Death Tax repeal in the GOP tax reform framework, arguing that the tax hinders the economy as well as future economic growth and job creation.

He noted that repealing the Death Tax is another crucial factor in boosting international competition along with reducing business and corporate tax rate.

Using statistics gathered by the Tax Foundation, Norquist stated, “Abolishing the Death Tax would increase the economy by eight tenths of a point, almost a point 1 percent increase, and 159,000 full time jobs would be added.”

Panelists also included Death Tax experts such as: Jim Martin, Chairman and President of the 60 Plus Association, Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and Palmer Schoening, Founder and Chairman of the Family Business Coalition.

The Death Tax originated in 1797 to increase funding for naval expansion before being repealed shortly after in 1802. The tax would not be seen again until 1862 to pay for Civil War efforts. It would once again be repealed, but the tax would continue to follow this pattern, being implemented in 1898 and 1916 to help pay for the Spanish-American War and World War I respectively.

While the tax was repealed less than five years after its implementation during the Spanish-American War, it has never been repealed again. The tax has remained in our tax code for over a century, since 1916.

It is time to abolish the Death Tax. Permanently. The GOP tax reform plan achieves this.

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Norquist Praises Trump Tax Cut Plan as Huge Help To Truckers

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017, 5:13 PM PERMALINK

Ahead of President Trump’s tax reform rally in Pennsylvania with truckers, ATR president Grover Norquist praised the GOP plan as a huge benefit to small businesses and pass-through companies. Such businesses will see a 42% tax rate cut.

Norquist discussed the pass-through rate with Fox Business Network host David Asman, the host of After the Bell:

Norquist: “The 30 million Americans who have small businesses – self-employment income, pass-through income -- they will all benefit because their business tax rate goes down as well.”

David Asman, host: “That’s who the President is appealing to with the truckers today. Because the truckers mostly are these pass-through kind of companies. Working class Americans that have a little business of their own which is a trucking business and that represents as you say 30 million Americans. That’s a strong lobbying force.”

Norquist: Many of them are married, they’ve got spouses, they have children, they have brothers and sisters and employees. That is a huge number. Half of Americans work for pass-throughs, half for corporations. And that group has been ignored going back the last thirty years. We haven’t focused on entrepreneurs and bringing those tax rates down.”

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Norquist Calls Out Schumer for Lying About Tax Reform

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Posted by Abigail Marone on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017, 2:44 PM PERMALINK

Today ATR president Grover Norquist called out Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for lying about tax reform.

As a guest on Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends, Norquist hit back at Schumer’s knowingly false assertion that the “bottom rate on working class families goes up” under the GOP tax cut plan.

Norquist said:

“Schumer is lying. There are eight rates now, they’re going to go down to four. The bottom rate is zero -- the 10% rate goes down to zero --  the 15% rate goes down to 12%. All of the rates go down, so there will be 0%, 12%, 25%, 35%. Everybody who pays taxes sees lower rates. The game that Schumer is playing, is he pretends there isn’t a zero rate but there is and it is expanded under the Trump-Republican plan. It’s very dishonest, and what it does tell you is that Schumer is not going to play any role in working with the Republicans in Congress or the White House to play any role in tax reform. I didn’t expect him to, but this kind of dishonesty explains that he’s not even part of the discussion.”

Schumer’s lying is especially rich given that his candidate, Hillary Clinton, offered NO income tax rate reduction for ANY American of any income level. 

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Chicago Repeals Soda Tax

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Posted by Patrick Gleason on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017, 2:33 PM PERMALINK

In a blow to Michael Bloomberg’s nanny-state crusade, the Cook County Board today voted to abolish Chicago’s hated pop tax.

Cook County was the largest municipality in the U.S. to levy a soda tax. The one-cent per ounce soda tax, which went into effect in August, required a rare tie-breaking vote from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the top champion of that regressive tax hike, in order to receive final passage back in November of 2016.

After a fierce public backlash against the tax, the board repealed the tax today by a vote of 15 -1. The soda tax was a top priority of former New York City mayor Bloomberg. He dumped $5 million into a pro-soda-tax campaign in the county.

This is the second recent major defeat for Bloomberg. Santa Fe voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure that would have imposed a soda tax in that city.

"If there is one city America’s tax and spenders should be able muscle through the latest tax fad, it would be Chicago. And yet in this tax and spend, Democrat-run city, consumers forced the city council to cough up their recent tax hike and repeal the soda tax,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “This is huge victory for consumers and taxpayers and demonstrates to the world that there is a limit to the burden taxpayers will carry—even in Chicago.”

Photo Credit: (c) Stevecuk/ Adobe Stock

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EPA Administrator Pruitt Announces Repeal of Obama's Clean Power Plan

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Posted by William Paul on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017, 2:32 PM PERMALINK

EPA Administrator Pruitt Announces Repeal of Obama’s Clean Power Plan

This week Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the end of one of the most onerous and costly regulatory regimes put forth under former President Obama, the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

Administrator Pruitt made the announcement at a local coal equipment business in Eastern Kentucky. Pruitt noted that Obama’s CCP exceeds the authority granted by the Clean Air Act, among other issues, and by signing the notice of proposed rulemaking the EPA can proceed in planning a repeal strategy. Once the rule is published in the Federal Register, stakeholders will have 60-days to submit public comments.

In March of this year President Trump signed the “Energy Independence” executive order, targeting costly Obama era regulatory policies, the focus of which was the CPP. In the release issued by the EPA this week, the Agency noted the CPP was estimated to cost $33 billion annually, with annual compliance costs estimated to reach over $70 billion.

American businesses and consumers have dodged an economic bullet from the CPP that would have raised electricity costs from 12-17 percent, with every state seeing increases, 44 of which would see double-digit rate increases. This is music to the ears of middle-income families that would have seen job losses and a projected decrease in household spending power between $64 and $79 billion.

Even with the CPP having not gone into effect, and having been stayed by the Supreme Court, power companies have been reducing carbon emissions on their own for years. This hasn’t stopped Democrats and activists from pledging lawsuits against the agency.

Pruitt stated that there could be a more industry-friendly replacement rule, but did not confirm. Either way, the actions taken by EPA Administrator Pruitt and the Trump Administration this week to reign in the regulatory overreach left over by the Obama Administration are a boon for consumers and the U.S. economy. 

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High Taxes Drive Innovators and Entrepreneurs to Low-Tax States: Study

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Posted by Satyajeet Marar on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017, 1:02 PM PERMALINK

A new study has revealed that America’s top-level inventors and innovators are highly mobile and sensitive to tax reform, migrating out of high-tax states to those offering better conditions. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco study monitored the migration patterns of ‘star scientists’ – those with patents in the top 5% of distribution. It revealed that a mere 1% hike to post-tax incomes in individual US states following a tax cut resulted in a 0.4% increase in the stock of scientists within the state, with similar effects observed for cuts to state corporate tax.

The study is good news for North Carolina, Texas and other states which have lowered or maintained low to non-existent income corporate taxes to attract firms and high-skilled workers. It underscores the reality that high taxes discourage productive behavior, driving away those who create value. These states reap scores of benefits including growth in local high tech or scientific industries and flow-on effects including the creation of more high-quality jobs which grow the state economy and boost both paychecks and living standards.

The researcher’s findings are no surprise. Last year, a similar study found that entrepreneurs were highly sensitive to changes in international tax policy, migrating across borders to countries that welcome their contributions through a favorable tax environment.

It is a lesson the US federal government has learned, with plans to drastically cut America’s massive federal corporate tax rate and eliminate perverse disincentives such as the tax on US multinationals attempting to return home profits generated overseas under the Trump administration’s tax reform framework.

At a recent Senate Finance committee hearing, eminent academics in Economics and Law called for reform, noting  that the current regime failed to create a level playing field by disadvantaging US multinationals against foreign competitors who are not taxed a second time on income they return to their home countries. Professor Itai Grinberg of Georgetown University noted that under the status quo, companies were moving management, research & development and even support jobs overseas – depriving the US economy of skills and innovation while actually eroding America’s tax base.

Studies and experience confirm that tax cuts at the state and national level welcome inventors, entrepreneurs and firms who create value and drive innovation. They lay the groundwork for economic growth and prosperity.

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South Dakota and the Constitutionally of Their Internet Sales Tax

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Posted by Matthew Adams on Tuesday, October 10th, 2017, 4:58 PM PERMALINK

Earlier this month, South Dakota’s Attorney General Marty Jackley petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the state’s internet sales tax that the state Supreme Court struck down this September.

In what may become a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court will determine the constitutionality of an internet sales taxes, hopefully ruling in favor of taxpayers and in support of federalism.

In March of 2016, Governor Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota signed the massive sales tax into law. 

Senate Bill 106, required out-of-state sellers to collect a sales tax on South Dakota’s buyers, and then forced these sellers to hand over those tax dollars to the state of South Dakota. 

Worst of all, under the law, the seller didn’t even need to have a physical presence in state, yet, were still subject to the overbearing measure.

Under the law, businesses were strong-armed into taking on the role of tax collector. In shifting the tax burden onto business owners, they were required to file dozens of complicated reports detailing their transactions- wasting money, time, and, resources, making it even harder for less advantaged mom-and-pop shops to compete.

With that, the law raised the prices on consumer goods, subjecting hard-working South Dakotans to greater financial struggle.  

To great concern, similar measures have been proposed in the U.S. Congress, mainly the Marketplace Fairness Act, championed by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-V.A.).

In 1992, the court ruled in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota that it was unconstitutional to require retailers with no in-state presence to collect and remit a sales tax.

If they do take up the case, the court will either decide to overrule this previous precedent, opening the floodgates to massive tax increases across the board, or, choose to prioritize the rights and sovereignty of American taxpayers by upholding the 1992 ruling. 

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Grover Norquist: Tax Reform is a Must Win for Republicans (and it really could happen)

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Posted by Grover Norquist on Monday, October 9th, 2017, 2:10 PM PERMALINK

This article originally appeared on Fox News

Tax reform is the one legislative victory Republicans must have if they are to hold the House and pick up five to seven Senate seats in November 2018. And tax reform is also the one legislative victory that looks increasingly likely.

Tax reform is a must-win for two reasons. First, to kick-start strong economic growth and job creation. Second, to demonstrate that President Trump and the Republicans in Congress can "get things done."  

If there had not been a zillion shiny things and tweets distracting us, it should have been obvious last year that America would not elect a Democrat to the presidency for the third time, as a result of the failed economic policies of President Obama and congressional Democrats.

The Democratic failures include higher taxes on everyone, (including eight ObamaCare taxes directly on the middle class), an explosion of regulatory costs, a new unending entitlement and lousy job numbers.

Even coming out of a deep recession, the Obama administration averaged growth of only 2 percent a year. President Reagan battled recession and inflation and managed 4 percent growth, creating 4 million jobs in the first year of his recovery.

In the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton promised $1 trillion in even higher taxes. She said she would not reduce tax rates for anyone and for any business, and hinted at other new and different taxes yet to come.

Donald Trump was elected president because he promised jobs, jobs, jobs. He and the GOP Congress know they have to deliver in such a way that even MSNBC will have to note from time to time that in the first six months of 2018 the economy is in fact demonstrably stronger.

The good news is that the emerging tax reform and reduction legislation will deliver a strong boost to the creation of jobs, income and wealth. The federal tax on businesses will be reduced from 35 percent (fourth-highest in the world), to roughly 20 percent, just below the developed world average. China is at 25 percent. 

Long depreciation schedules will be replaced by full and immediate business expensing – at least for a few years. And history suggests that any such pro-growth measure will be extended again and again (just as the research and development tax credit was) and eventually be made permanent.

Today there are $2.6 trillion earned by American companies overseas and stuck there because of stupid federal tax policy. Tax reform will bring those dollars back in a cascade of real investment in America. President Obama's "stimulus" was run through congressional earmarks and city politicians. It left no noticeable permanent job gains.

The biggest winners of tax reform will be the millions of Americans who enter or return to the job market when we unleash America's business investment through lower taxes, expensing and repatriation.  

Middle-income Americans will also see their personal tax rates fall and the standard deduction for an individual will jump from $6,000 to $12,000, and for a married couple from $12,000 to $24,000. Good luck to the Democrats explaining to millions of middle-class Americans who will see pay raises from these changes that they just benefit "the rich."

Finally, passing tax reform without a single Democratic vote will remind Americans that there are two teams in Washington. One works for government and the other works for them. Democrats refer to tax hikes as income. Republicans know taxes are a cost imposed on American families. Pick your team.

The Republican plan had been to pass ObamaCare repeal and reform, and then move on to tax reform and reduction – and run on those two victories. That may or may not happen. 

ObamaCare repeal may fail if three Republican senators put their personal pique and desire for approbation by the media ahead of their constituents, who are damaged by ObamaCare's ever-higher premiums and the 20 ObamaCare taxes.

Republicans must plan on asking Americans to judge them in 2018 on one big victory, not the expected two. Every Republican member of Congress knows that for policy and political reasons, the tax reform and reduction bill this fall will have to be as large, deep and pro-growth as possible.

 Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform. Follow him on Twitter @GroverNorquist.

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Why the Trump Tax Cut is Necessary

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Posted by Grover Norquist on Monday, October 9th, 2017, 1:47 PM PERMALINK

This article originally appeared in The National Interest

The battle underway in Washington to enact pro-growth tax reform is itself a perfect storm. Four questions will be answered. Competing visions of the world will clash and America may change its economic future and define its national policy for years to come. Or not. The stakes are high. And this political battle has a deadline.

It should be easy to cut taxes with a Republican House, a Republican Senate and Donald Trump elected both as a Republican and as the candidate of pro-growth tax cuts. George W. Bush had a Senate majority (fifty-one) slimmer than Mitch McConnell’s fifty-two, and a House majority of 229 compared to Paul Ryan’s 240. The 2001 tax cut was signed into law on June 7, 2001. Reagan had fifty-three Republican Senators and a fiercely partisan 244-Democrat majority in the House. Reagan’s across the board 25 percent tax rate reduction was signed at the Western White House on August 13, 1981.

It is now late September and the optimists predict a tax bill will be signed by Trump in late November, early December.

Why the delay in unveiling and passing a tax cut? Trump’s tax cut plan was as clearly stated and as often repeated in 2016 as George Bush was in 2000 and Reagan was in 1980. It was a central part of the campaign. Trump called for reducing the corporate income tax from 35 percent—the fourth highest business tax rate in the world (United Arab Emirates, Comoros and Puerto Rico have higher rates.) Trump’s recommended business income tax rate of 15 percent was below the 25 percent House Republicans had earlier supported and Paul Ryan rewrote his plan to move to a 20 percent rate to be closer to Trump’s number.

American firms today pay, on average, 19 percent higher business tax rates than our competitors overseas. China’s business tax is 25 percent, Irelands is 12.5 percent. This is the U.S. government handicapping American businesses and kneecapping American workers. Worse, the United States has a worldwide tax system—unlike almost all the rest of the world. The federal government taxes American businesses and citizens not just on the income they earn here in the United States, but also on any earnings overseas. The French government taxes French people and French companies earnings in France. But if a French firm or citizen earned money in Baltimore, then the firm or individual would pay U.S. taxes and then be free to repatriate all earnings without further interference by France. This means that an American firm that does business internationally is worth more when purchased by a Canadian firm. When Burger King was bought by Canadian firm Restaurant Brands International, it had the same number of employees, the same product, the same intellectual property—but lower taxes because earnings around the world are taxed one time in the country in which they are earned. Not once overseas and again by America.

The Republican and Trump plans all move to a territorial system. There would be a one-time hit on money now overseas—some suggest 3 percent on fixed assets and 8 percent on cash—that all future repatriations experience.

Trump joined House and Senate Republicans in demanding the abolition of the Death Tax—originally enacted to pay for the Civil War. Trump also railed against the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), which was put in the tax code in 1969 to ensnare some 115 high-net-worth American who escaped federal income taxes by investing in tax free municipal bonds. Abolition of both the Death Tax and AMT have been advocated by Republicans for years.

Trump and the House Republicans endorsed the idea of moving to full and immediate expensing of business investment in plant and equipment, which will replace long depreciation schedules. This dramatically reduces the cost of new investments, leading to a substantial increase in GDP, wages and employment.

Trump’s personal income tax rate reductions were largely borrowed from Paul Ryan’s plan to reduce the number of tax rates from seven to three. The top rate would fall from 39.5 percent to 35 percent. The bottom rate from 10 percent to effectively 0 percent due to a larger Standard Deduction. And the Standard Deduction for an individual would be increased from $6,000 to $12,000, and for a married couple from $12,000 to $24,000. That means that 95 percent of Americans would no longer have to itemize deductions. A significant simplification.

So what is the delay?

There are two ways to pass a tax cut. One can garner a simple majority of the House and sixty or more votes in the Senate and cut any taxes by any amount one wishes permanently. But Republicans have only 52 senators. They would need at least eight Democrat votes in the U.S. Senate to pass a large permanent tax cut. And on August 1, 2017, forty-five of the forty-eight senators wrote a letter to the present offering to help pass tax reform as long as the reform, one, was not a net tax cut, two, did not cut taxes for all Americans—they wanted to discriminate against high-income earners, and three, the legislation was not enacted through budget reconciliation.

The idea that there are eight Senate Democrats willing to vote to reduce taxes is a fantasy. The issue that most divides the modern Republican and Democrat parties is the tax issue. Yes, John F. Kennedy pushed a 22 percent across-the-board tax cut in the 1960s. But by 1980, most Democrats in the House voted against a 25 percent across-the-board tax cut.

Hillary Clinton ran for president in 2016 as the more moderate Democrat candidate for president, and she promised one trillion in higher taxes over the next decade and did not propose a single tax rate reduction for any American business or citizen. No Democrat has endorsed the GOP tax reforms this year

Thus, the only path to tax reduction is to use the reconciliation process, which allows a single majority in the Senate to pass a budget that includes tax cuts. The rules for reconciliation process is that the tax cuts can be of any size inside the “budget window”—arbitrarily set at ten years. It could be any number larger than five. Outside the budget window, in years eleven to fifty following passage, the only tax reduction that would be “permanent” would have to be offset dollar for dollar by reduction in entitlements (hence permanent cuts), tax increases, or increased revenue projections due to pro-growth policies in the bill scored by the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Since there are limits to how much growth the Joint Committee on Taxation will attribute to tax reform there are limits to how much tax cuts can be made permanent. In the past the Congressional Budget Office has pointed out that if the U.S. economy grew at four percent a year, instead of two percent a year for one full decade the federal tax revenue would be increased by $6 trillion over those ten years. Growth is a powerful generator of more tax revenue. In the past, the Joint Committee on Taxation did not consider the dynamic effects of tax changes. But that has proved embarrassing. The 1993 Bush tax cut in the tax rate on dividends and capital gains generated more revenue between 1993 and 1997 to Washington than was predicted without the tax cuts—i.e. that tax cut actually paid for itself.

So the size of the permanent tax cuts is limited to how much revenue can be raised by eliminating tax credits and deductions—for instance, eliminating the tax deductibility of state and local taxes would raise $1.7 trillion over a decade—and what growth in revenue might be projected by the Joint Committee on Taxation from lower rates and expensing. There is a third way to increase the amount of permanent tax cuts beyond the ten-year window and that is for congress to use “present policy” rather than “present law” in projecting future revenue. Assuming all tax credits that are planned to expire will continue frees us more space for permanent tax cuts that if one employed “present law” and assumed they would indeed lapse.

There is no limit on how many tax cuts can be enacted for the next ten years and how deep those tax cuts can be. The only limit is on how many and much of those tax cuts can be made permanent. That is enough to keep the House, Senate, White House and affected interests busy through November.

So, can the House leadership convince the “Freedom Caucus” to avoid the train wreck of Obamacare repeal and this time avoid making the perfect the enemy of the good. Can they vote for a “less than perfect” tax bill? Can anyone convince John McCain to set aside personal pique and vote for a Trump-endorsed tax bill? One remembers that McCain voted against both the successful Bush tax cuts. Can Trump avoid the siren call of the media to engage in endless and fruitless negotiations with Democrats to water down a bill they will not vote for under any circumstances? Will the Joint Committee on Taxation provide a reasonable dynamic score that allows more of the tax reductions to be permanent?

We shall see.

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IRS Continues to Use Outdated IT, Leaving Taxpayers At Risk

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Posted by Satyajeet Marar on Monday, October 9th, 2017, 12:29 PM PERMALINK

The IRS has failed repeatedly in its efforts to modernize its IT systems and is instead using outdated technology that is leaving the personal tax data of millions of Americans at risk.

The House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee conducted a hearing last week exploring the IRS’s IT practices following the news that the agency awarded a $7.25 million contract to Equifax just a week after that company was responsible for a major data breach compromising confidential data of 145 million American taxpayers.

Alarmingly, neither IRS Chief Information Officer Gina Garza, nor Jeffrey Tribiano, Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support, were aware that the contract with Equifax was signed until the morning of the hearing.

As noted by David Powner, Director of IT Management Issues at the Government Accountability Office, this represents a major breakdown in IRS management as CIO’s are required by law to approve major IT contracts such as the one awarded to Equifax:

“CIOs should approve the IT budget, they should approve major IT contracts, that’s a provision in the law… I can tell you right now that was put in there because of this stuff [referencing the Equifax funding granted by the IRS].”

This breakdown represented just one example of how the IRS’s modernization efforts have failed. When asked by Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) if anyone on the panel thought that the modernization efforts of the IRS have been acceptable – every witness agreed the IRS is falling far short and failing taxpayers.

Describing the incident as an “abject failure”. Rep Jackie Wolorski (R – IN) called for structural change in the IRS, noting that the organization was in need of “major reform”.

The Equifax data breach should come as no surprise as IRS practices have been investigated by independent watchdogs on a number of occasions.

  • Last year, a TIGTA review found that the IRS’s outdated systems were leaving taxpayer data at risk, noting that “the use of outdated operating systems may expose taxpayer information to unauthorized disclosure, which can lead to identity theft.  Further, network disruptions and security breaches may prevent the IRS from performing vital taxpayer services, such as processing tax returns, issuing refunds, and answering taxpayer inquiries.” 
  • Another review revealed that poorly articulated and badly enforced data retention policies were responsible for the destruction of laptops and critical records, hindering the ability of taxpayers to hold the agency accountable. 
  • Concerns about the IRS’s mishandling of private information have prompted the GOP’s proposed Taxpayer Bill of Rights, designed to protect (amongst other things), the privacy and confidentiality of American taxpayers by holding the agency accountable and affording taxpayers a means of redress.
  • The Oversight Committee found that the IRS has retained outdated 20th-century technology that puts citizen data at risk instead of developing or implementing integrated cloud technology which is the industry standard.

Given the agency’s clear failure to modernize its IT systems, it is clear that reforms are needed to ensure that the IRS is held accountable to everyday Americans and is properly completing its responsibilities. 

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