Debt limit bill gives Republicans IRS cuts, but Democrats say they expect little near-term impact

by Lucas Garcia
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IRS cuts

Debt Limit Bill Gives Republicans IRS Cuts

House Republicans push for IRS cutbacks as part of debt limit and budget cuts package.

Rescinding Funds and Diverting Resources

The bill removes $1.4 billion allocated to the IRS in the Democrats’ health and energy package.

$20 billion will be diverted from the IRS over the next two years to nondefense programs.

Minimal Impact Expected

Biden administration officials assure that the spending cuts will not significantly affect the agency’s operations in the coming years.

The IRS will still receive approximately three-quarters of the $80 billion boost approved by Congress last year.

Flexibility in spending allows the IRS to allocate funds sooner than planned.

Republicans Highlight IRS Cuts

Spending cuts for the IRS are seen as a crucial selling point for Republicans.

The first bill passed by House Republicans aimed to rescind most of the additional funding approved for the IRS but did not progress in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Allocation of Funds and Potential Impact

IRS leaders previously outlined plans to use the $80 billion for improved operations, including technology upgrades and hiring more customer service representatives.

With some funds clawed back, certain programs may be affected.

Treasury officials state that the development of an online free file tax return system will not be impacted.

Analysts express skepticism about the impact of the cuts, while Democrats express some satisfaction with the outcome.

Concerns and Projections

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the $1.4 billion rescission will increase deficits by about $900 million over the next decade due to reduced tax revenue.

The CBO’s projections do not consider the $20 billion diversion to other programs.

Democrats raise concerns about staffing shortages at the IRS and potential impacts on audits.

Republican Perspective

During the House vote, Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., supports the Republican effort, emphasizing that constituents do not desire more audits.

Q: What does the debt limit bill propose regarding the IRS?

A: The debt limit bill includes provisions to cut IRS funding. It rescinds $1.4 billion from the federal tax collector, and there is a separate agreement to divert $20 billion from the IRS to nondefense programs over the next two years.

Q: How will these funding cuts impact the IRS’s operations?

A: According to the Biden administration, the funding cuts are expected to have minimal impact on the agency’s operations in the near term. The IRS will still receive about three-quarters of the $80 billion boost approved by Congress last year, and there is flexibility in spending to ensure continued customer service improvements and pursuit of tax evaders.

Q: Why are Republicans emphasizing the IRS cuts in the bill?

A: For Republicans, the IRS cuts are a critical selling point. They have been seeking to rein in the IRS and reduce its funding, and the bill provides an opportunity to fulfill their campaign promise. Rescinding funds for enforcement hiring and diverting resources away from the IRS are viewed as steps towards limiting the agency’s power.

Q: What concerns do analysts and Democrats have regarding the funding cuts?

A: Analysts and Democrats express concerns about the potential impact of the funding cuts. There are doubts about whether the IRS will be able to fully deliver on promised programs and improvements with reduced resources. Some worry about the effect on audits and fairness in tax enforcement, particularly for lower-income and minority taxpayers.

Q: How does the Congressional Budget Office view the rescission of funds?

A: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the $1.4 billion rescission will increase deficits by about $900 million over the next decade due to reduced tax revenue. However, it’s important to note that the CBO’s projections do not include the $20 billion diversion agreed upon to other programs.

Q: What is the perspective of Democrats and Treasury officials on the funding cuts?

A: While some Democrats express satisfaction or understanding given the need to address the debt limit, concerns remain. Treasury officials reassure that the impact on the IRS will be minimal, emphasizing the agency’s resources in the near term to improve customer service and target wealthy tax evaders.

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