In recent years, the IRS has proven itself to be one of the most dysfunctional federal agencies. It is not surprising that the agency is extremely unpopular. In the last several years, official watchdogs have found the agency has failed in its responsibility to taxpayers on multiple occasions.

For instance, in the past few years, the Inspector General has found that the IRS has mispaid 31% of their employees, blocked public access to their trials, given bonuses to tax delinquent employees, shortchanged taxpayers by $1.2 million, lost track of computers with sensitive taxpayer information on them, and wasted $12 million on an unstable email system to name a few instances demonstrating incompetency. 

Clearly, there is need for reform that ensures the agency treats taxpayers with respect. One law that can be changed is 26 U.S. Code § 6511, which gives taxpayers just three years to claim a refund from the IRS when they overpay. If they fail to claim the refund in this time period, any money becomes the property of the government. In contrast, 26 U.S. Code § 6502, gives the IRS an entire decade to correct tax mistakes. This is patently unfair given that it is these federal bureaucrats entire job to audit taxes.

To address this discrepancy, Congressman Neal Dunn (R-Fla.) recently introduced “The Refund Rights for Taxpayers Act,” legislation that ensures taxpayers and the IRS have the same amount of time to correct any mistake that results in the payment of either too much or too few in taxes.

The Refund Rights for Taxpayers Act allows taxpayers to claim overpaid taxes from the IRS for seven years. It also reduces the time the IRS has to collect additional taxes from taxpayers to seven years.

This is a simple, yet important solution to ensuring that bureaucrats will be held to the same standards that everyday Americans are held to.

Moreover, reducing the time period the IRS has to collect back taxes will also guarantee that the agency is held to the high standard that the American people expect.

Members of Congress and the current administration can demonstrate their commitment to reforming the IRS and protecting taxpayers by supporting and co-sponsoring the Refund Rights for Taxpayers Act.

[ATR’s letter of support for the Refund Rights for Taxpayers Act can be found here.]