Over the past several weeks, the Internal Revenue Service has been involved in a lot of controversies. One of them includes the IRS targeting certain conservative or anti-government organizations; while the other has been IRS employees abusing taxpayer dollars by spending it on lavish conferences, pornography and romance novels.
Despite the issues going on at the IRS, one taxpayer advocate believes the tax collection federal agency should garner more funding from taxpayers because its present means are rather inadequate.
Nina Olson, an independent national taxpayer advocate who was appointed by the Treasury Secretary and reports to the IRS commissioner, issued a report to the Congress on Wednesday in which she highlights that the IRS collects more than 90 percent of tax revenues but it also administers and allocates various credits, incentives and policies pertaining to retirement, healthcare and education.
In light of the IRS’s budget being cut by eight percent, or $1 billion, over the past three years, including cuts to staffing levels, training programs and other measures. Olson argues that this has hurt taxpayers immensely because there has been a backlog in correspondence and a large amount of individuals who have been the victim of identity theft have not been assisted in a prompt manner.
“The IRS will cut corners, eliminate protections it doesn’t understand and deems unnecessary, make decisions in ignorance of the law, and generally not spend the time necessary to understand specific taxpayer concerns until things reach a crisis level,” Olson stated in the report.
Olsen also spoke at a Senate subcommittee hearing last month: “If the IRS is not properly funded to collect the revenue, there will be fewer dollars available for the military, for social programs, for intelligence and embassy protection, for infrastructure maintenance, for medical research — or simply for deficit reduction.”
It was reported that nearly four-dozen groups have launched a lawsuit against the IRS for backlogging their applications. Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), told the Daily Caller that the figure could rise because a lot more organizations are coming forward realizing their mistreatment by the IRS.
$1,000 ‘apology payments’
In her report released Wednesday, Olson recommended the IRS to right the wrongs because it is an institution that is in a present state of internal chaos that facilitated its decision to not treat all taxpayers fairly.
One of her suggestions is to issue $1,000 “apology payments” to certain cases, especially “where the IRS has caused excessive expense or undue burden to the taxpayer,” which consists of organizations affiliated with the Tea Party movement.
“As a consequence of this crisis, the IRS gives limited consideration to taxpayer rights or fundamental tax administration principles as it struggles to get its job done,” said Olson.
In the end, however, it isn’t the number of scandals that continue to be revealed by media outlets, but rather the serious lack of funding that the IRS receives on an annual basis from the federal government.
“In my view, the real crisis is not the one generating headlines,” noted Olson. “The real crisis is a radically transformed mission coupled with inadequate funding to accomplish that mission.”