Skip to comments.Live Thread: House Ways and Means-Subcommittee on Oversight: IRS Oversight
Posted on 02/05/2014 6:49:35 AM PST by Whenifhow
The House Ways and Means Committees Oversight Subcommittee conducted a hearing on oversight at the Internal Revenue Service. Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) chairs the hearing. People in this video
Boustany, Charles W. Jr. U.S. Representative [R] Louisiana
House Committee Ways and Means
House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles W. Boustany Jr., M.D., (R-LA) today announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen. The hearing will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 5, 2014, in room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building.
The Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, the Honorable John Koskinen, will be the only witness at the hearing. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.
John Koskinen was sworn in as the 48th Commissioner of the IRS on December 23, 2013. This will be Commissioner Koskinens first appearance before Congress as Commissioner, allowing for discussion on a wide variety of issues before the IRS that affect American taxpayers. The hearing will focus on the ongoing investigation of IRS targeting, the newly proposed regulations concerning 501(c)(4) groups, the backlog of applications for tax-exempt status, IRS responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and improper payments of tax credits.
The IRS became the subject of intense public scrutiny in May 2013 when it was revealed that agency officials used inappropriate criteria in selecting 501(c)(4) tax-exempt applications based on name and policy position. Despite the fact that Congressional investigations into the targeting have not concluded, on November 29, 2013, the Obama Administration issued new proposed regulations on 501(c)(4) organizations, the first rule change in more than 50 years. In addition to these concerns, the IRS continues to struggle with an enormous backlog in applications for tax-exempt status. There are now almost 8,000 501(c)(3) applications pending at the IRS that are more than a year old.
The hearing will also examine the IRSs role in the income and data certification functions related to the ACA. These new responsibilities come at a time when the agency is also under scrutiny for its failure to address the growth of improper payments. Over the last ten years, the IRS erroneously made an estimated $140 billion in improper payments arising from refundable tax credits. Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the largest refundable tax credit, consistently ranks among the top sources for erroneous payments out of all government programs. Last year, 21 to 25 percent of EITC payments were erroneous, costing American taxpayers as much as $13.6 billion.
In announcing the hearing, Chairman Boustany said, The IRS carries out the critical function of collecting federal revenuethis is why it is alarming that its priorities have gone so far astray. Improper payments and identity theft continue to be major challenges for the agency and yet the IRS devotes more than 800 employees and millions of dollars to ObamaCare implementation. It has acknowledged targeting groups based on their personal beliefs, but now is using that scandal to justify new proposed regulations that will silence the very groups that were abused. The problems at the agency are many, and they are diverse, but what they all have in common is it will be up to Commissioner Koskinen to begin correcting them.
FOCUS OF THE HEARING:
The hearing will focus on a variety of issues facing the IRS, including the ongoing investigation into the IRSs targeting of certain tax exempt organizations, proposed regulations regarding 501(c)(4) groups, IRS responsibilities under the ACA, the 501(c)(3) backlog, and improper payments.
Hearing began at 9:30 am
Notice of hearing link
Now if we can just keep Bonehead out of the way!
Unions dominate the IRS.
Felons? [crickets ... What difference does it make?]
They don’t even know how many withheld.
[crickets ... What difference does it make?]
There is no REAL oversight.
IRS vs conservatives?
Koskinen lies to Congress says records were
destroyed, when Congress knows that is not true.
Where the conservatives audited?
“Yes, but they deserved it for other reasons.”
Again. Zero transparency. Zero accountability.
There is no REAL oversight.
That is the absolute truth. Its just cheap political theater.
The hearing itself does not provide oversight. My hope is that something will be revealed so that the trail doesn’t grow cold.
Congress should have more power to terminate appointees IMO.
Appreciate all who give play by play for those who can’t access for
One reason or another
The IRS Commissioner says he knows nothing,
has had no interest in anything (past corruption)
and that the agents were “confused”.
He lies to Congress thinking (and knowing) that
most of them are FOOLS.
His goals is to remain this secret, as he keeps
changing the subject saying he will investigate NOTHING.
Americans are screwed, just like with ObamaCARE.
Bureaucracies are VERY GOOD at diffusing responsibility. When something goes wrong, they know how to protect themselves. Only the truely stupid ever get caught or punished, and that is extremely rare.
Outstanding Requests from Congress are still ignored.
Public trust is GONE.
No compliance by IRS to Congress.
No interest in accountability OR transparency.
Most of the Congressional chairs are empty.
The EXEMPT could not care less.
It is the IRS-Unions-DNC-criminalIllegals
vs. Americans and the Tea Party
Black - R - TN
asks new commissioner to clarify - 6 ongoing investigations
asks him to clarify regarding comments on the exempt status
Black - uncovered IRS surveillance to monitor tax exempt status
Groups referred to surveillance were returned for further review
what is the status of surveillance program?
Answer: surveillance is not in existence - IRS will monitor/ reviewed as needed
Sanchez - D - CA
asks about Earned income tax credit fraud
Commissioner responds with “we run that program as well as collecting taxes” and “it is a balancing act”
Jenkins - R - Kansas
asks about subsidies for ACA & possible tax fraud
From Inspector general report:
Lack of fraud mitigation relating to tax credits - no strategy
IRS fraud may not be capable of discovery of fraud.
What is the IRS doing?
IRS - rollout on our part went very well, despite other issues with rollout.
Estimates of tax credit - reconciliation at the back end
In terms of fraud potential - advance tax premium goes to insurance company & therefore little incentive for fraud
We will get from insurers who is getting subsidies.
We do need to make sure that people are reporting their income correctly and we are developing “screens” for that.
It is an additional burden which no funding has been provided.
Sorry...I cannot comment on an ongoing investigation...can hide it for decades!
Danny Davis - D - Illinois
Training focus yet budget has been cut. How do you motivate staff to allow them to work with less.
Response: Management approach to an organization. I spent my career working in organizations that are under stress.
IRS - 75% budget is people.
Change utilization of our website - apps - where’s my refund?
those are calls that did not have to be handled by agents.
We are using less office space, we have cut contractors and eliminated sending tax booklets.
Davis: What do you hear from staff?
Response: describe limitations based on lack of staff
Encourage information flow from the bottom up so that they know we value their work and opinions.
Marchant - R - Texas
Can you tell us whether there is targeting?
Response: IRS wants a good rapport with taxpayers - we need to deliver with performance.
Marchant: If you discover this type of activity, will there be immediate reporting to this committee and take action to terminate employee?
Response: I will report and act quickly
Marchant: groups that were targeted in my district - many of those groups filled out paperwork with exhaustive questions.
Response: those lists no longer exist
Marchant: Less than 100 names that were disclosed (through groups answers on paperwork)
(he compares the number of those audited with donor list)
Response: our audit rate - over a million audits - higher rate of audits for higher incomes.
Some will be automatically in the audit category based on their income based on procedures.
Crowley - D - NY
Attempt to find a smoking gun....
refers to Obama comment on boneheaded actions.
This committee found otherwise - continues to list no political targeting.
rehashes the history according to his perception
Smoking gun - no new information has come forth
smoking gun is a cap gun
Tom Reed - R - NY
IRS has lost trust.
Obama made statement in interview about “no corruption”.
Yet you stated there are 6 investigations, is that a responsible statement by the President about the status of IRS.
Response: statements in face of open investigation, which draw conclusions when it is still ongoing.
Reed: what I just heard was you don’t want to answer the question.
Answer: it is not my role to respond in a debate about perceptions.
Reed: there is no way to come to a conclusion at this time.
Response: evidence is unfolding.
I won’t second guess comments by anyone.
Reed: restates comment - no conclusion?
Reed: How do you know there is under-staffing issue and how will you measure the fulfillment of actions taken?
Response: how many phone calls go unanswered. that is a measure of lack of staff.
Reed: how do you know that people are not doing their job?
Response: I have been to call centers - and calls not getting answered has nothing to do with “not doing their job”.
Paulsen - R - MN
Proposed rules for tax exempt status - released in the middle of ongoing investigation
under new rules - would still be able to conduct non-partisan
Further questions on the status and how they differ
Is the intent to drive 501c4 out of status?
Response: Final regulation won’t help unless it solves the issues and will consider comments
Paulsen: groups targeted - what procedures does IRS have in place to know they are not being targeted?
Response: IRS has detailed procedures and assure you those audits are identified by specific details.
IRS will be doing audits in a fair way - it is done independently
Paulsen: would you be willing to work with my office on groups targeted?
response: series of issues - we need to investigate - delighted to work with your office.
When we hear from congress, I want to respond quickly.