Robert Hurt: Bringing accountability to the IRS

 

Fifth District Virginians have been preparing for this year’s April 18th tax filing deadline for the past several weeks, which is not only a burdensome annual reminder of just how complex and outdated our current tax code is, but also a weary reminder of just how inept the Internal Revenue Service has been in recent memory. Families and small businesses spend billions of hours each year dealing with this most excessive example of bureaucratic red tape only to hand over their hard-earned dollars to a federal government agency that continues to make questionable decisions and conduct itself in such a manner that is not worthy of American taxpayers.

Americans make a good faith effort to comply with our complicated tax code, and we have recently taken up a number of bills to be voted on this week in an effort to bring some semblance of accountability to the Internal Revenue Service. The misconduct and sheer lack of accountability at the IRS has gone on for far too long, and I look forward to taking steps this week to rein the agency in. The IRS has had a long history of questionable conduct from ignoring taxpayers’ phone calls to targeting individuals based on their party affiliation, which just last month was scrutinized by a federal appellate court citing the Obama Administration’s unresponsiveness to the allegations.

Four of the bills we will be voting on this week relate to IRS personnel, two of which would prevent the IRS from giving out bonuses to employees until a comprehensive customer service strategy is implemented.  The third bill would ban the IRS from rehiring former employees who had been fired for misconduct, and the fourth would prevent the IRS from hiring new employees unless the Secretary of the Treasury certifies that no employees have their own serious tax problems.

These timely pieces of legislation are common sense steps to bring peace of mind to American taxpayers. Tax season is stressful enough, the last thing hardworking Americans need is to be paying their taxes to an unaccountable, corrupt agency.

Fifth District Virginians remain troubled by the reports of IRS official’s misconduct and ineptitude, and the American people deserve accountability and answers from such a powerful agency. At a time when many have understandably lost trust in the IRS’s ability to fairly administer our laws, it is my hope that the work we are doing in the House of Representatives will begin the process of reinstating honesty and integrity in government.

I share the American people’s frustration that the IRS, whose purported mission is to, “provide America’s taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all,” is not living up to that standard. The American people deserve better. My colleagues and I in the House of Representatives remain committed to reining in an out-of-control federal government that makes life more difficult for hardworking Americans.

If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.

Robert Hurt represents the Fifth District of Virginia in Congress.

 

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