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While a vast majority of Americans will likely benefit from the likely passage of the GOP tax bill, The New York Times is asking for some sympathy for one particularly unpopular government agency: the Internal Revenue Service.
Because the tax bill features a “comprehensive revision of the tax code,” interpreting and implementing the new rules and tax system will be “monumental” job, according to NYT.
The federal agency will have to work much harder to collect tax revenue, leading NYT to ask the question: Have You Ever Felt Sorry for the I.R.S.? Now Might Be the Time.
John A. Koskinen, the previous IRS commissioner who faced impeachment hearings after it was revealed that the agency unfairly targeted conservative groups, is quoted in the piece warning that the GOP bill could potentially lead to disaster.
“Beware,” Koskinen told NYT. “If the budget keeps being cut and the agency keeps being given more things to do, the I.R.S. is simply not going to work.”
If the agency doesn’t get its act together, “the information technology will fail, forcing the filing and refund systems to collapse,” Koskinen cautioned, “or enforcement and audits will become so scarce that fewer people will be inclined to pay the taxes they owe.”
It is hard to imagine a tragedy greater than the IRS’s filing or enforcement mechanisms failing. With President Trump’s directive to eliminate two regulations for each new one, the IRS is under even more pressure.
According to NYT, “Since 2010, [the IRS’s] budget has been cut by $900 million — or 17 percent after adjusting for inflation — and its staff reduced by 21,000, or 23 percent. In the meantime, it has had to process roughly 10 million more individual returns.”
While the agency frets about handling its new responsibilities, The Times makes sure to remind its readers how little the president seems to care.
“During the campaign, President Trump accused the agency of unjustly hounding him with audits year after year. Paying as little as possible was “the American way,” he declared,” The Times writes.
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