Oversight Chairman Peter Roskam’s Remarks at ATR Press Conference: Stop IRS Abuse

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, April 16th, 2015, 1:45 PM PERMALINK

House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) addressed ATR’s annual tax day press conference in the U.S. Capitol. Chairman Roskam successfully shepherded a series of IRS reform bills through the full House, with overwhelming bipartisan support. As Roskam pointed out, the measures are common sense yet necessary to begin to rein in the out of control IRS. The full text of Roskam’s remarks are below:

"I'm really pleased -- there is a bipartisan consensus that's developed in the House of Representatives as a restraining influence for what we've seen from the Internal Revenue Service. We've seen the IRS over the past few years act with impunity, act with impunity as it relates to targeting people, act with impunity as it relates to squandering resources, making the false claim that they're not able to get their work done because they don't have enough money, all of which is nonsense.

And on a bipartisan basis, coming out of the Ways and Means Committee, we've marked up a series of bills and we expect to have a debate on them today and have a vote on them tomorrow. And if past is prelude, I think that these are all likely to get out of the House and over to the Senate.

Let me highlight a couple of them. Two of them I've sponsored. One forces the IRS to implement the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. What's important about this legislation is it makes it a distinct responsibility of the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service to make sure that the agency, in fact, fulfills these obligations under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

Second is the Fair Treatment for All Gifts Act, which is HR 1104 which permanently ensures that the IRS cannot tax gifts to nonprofit organizations. Again, this is one of these things that goes beyond your sense of wonder, that the IRS would contemplate creating a gift tax liability when there shouldn't be one, and this clears that up.

Congressman [Kenny] Marchant has jumped in to all the IRS email drama, making sure that emails are only used through official accounts. Congressman Mike Kelly has the [Taxpayer Knowledge of IRS Investigations Act]. Congressman George Holding is sponsoring legislation that will allow social welfare groups to self-declare their tax-exempt status, not unlike other elements of the code in order to expedite the process. Congressman Pat Meehan heads legislation that would permit organizations to appeal denied requests for tax-exempt status to some entity that is new and fair and neutral so they'd get a fair hearing. And, finally, Congressman Jim Renacci has legislation that makes it a firing offense to target organizations -- target Americans for political purposes.

All of these things when you hear them are fairly intuitive. All of these things when you hear them seem very, very common sense and, yet, it's only in Washington, D.C., that this tends to be groundbreaking legislation. So I am really pleased that it seems like there is a bipartisan consensus that's developing about this and that, essentially, what is happening is the American public, through their elected representatives, are reclaiming delegated authority. It was delegation that was abused and now it's authority that's being reclaimed."

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