Tipton Drills into IRS Double Standard

WASHINGTON—Today, during a House Small Business Committee hearing Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) questioned acting Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Daniel Werfel on the agency’s double standard with regard to its treatment of American taxpayers.

Tipton pressed the Commissioner on the recent IG report that stated the IRS wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on lavish conferences and costly conference videos. Werfel assured that since, “strong, robust procedures were put in place to constrain both conference spending and any spending on extraneous cost on videos.”

“…What the American people’s frustration and my frustration is that we look at the IRS just saying, ‘hey we’re going to correct the problem, we’re sorry, it won’t happen again, and then move on down the road,” said Tipton. “Do you apply those same standards to American taxpayers?”

Werfel responded that he was “not excusing the behavior.”

Watch their full exchange here.

Tipton also pressed Werfel on the IRS expectation that American taxpayers have a complete understanding of the tax code that the Agency doesn’t even have.

TIPTON: “How many pages are there in the tax code? 70,000 plus?”

WERFEL: “It’s a very high number.

TIPTON: “If I call up the IRS today, wanting to be able to pay my taxes, to do it lawfully, will whoever answers that phone guarantee me that their answer is correct?

WERFEL: “That’s not the way the process works.”

TIPTON: “That’s not the way the process works… So the IRS can’t figure it out, the IRS can’t guarantee us that they understand the policies that are in place, and yet we’re trying to tell the American people that you must obey the law. Doesn’t this really call for legitimate tax reform to get a flatter, fairer and simpler tax code?”

WERFEL: “…As a general principle, the IRS administers whatever law Congress passes and we rely on the Treasury Department to articulate-”

TIPTON: “That’s not completely true though, is it? ...Don’t you issue rules and regulations that are not approved by Congress, and it’s your assumption they meet the legislative directive? But you don’t come back and ask us if it meets the legislative directive.”

 

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