Bill Would Increase Transparency at IRS to Prevent Future Targeting of Individuals Based on Political Beliefs
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., has co-sponsored legislation that would require the federal government to notify taxpayers whenever the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has accessed their tax returns or other information. This bill is one of several measures that Isakson has co-sponsored in wake of the IRS targeting conservative political groups for addition screening.
Isakson is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees the IRS.
“It is critically important that we get to the bottom at what happened at the IRS to ensure that Americans are not targeted because of their political beliefs,” said Isakson. “Sunlight is the best antiseptic to combat corruption, and this legislation will go a long way to hold the IRS accountable and restore the American peoples’ confidence in the federal government.”
The IRS Abuse Protection Act, S.1489 and H.R.3074, was introduced earlier this month by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., in the Senate and House, respectively. The Alexander-Fincher legislation would require that the secretary of the U.S. Treasury notify taxpayers, in writing, each time the IRS accesses their tax accounts, tax returns or other tax return information.
The written notice must include who accessed the information, the purpose of doing so and how the information was accessed. Under the bill, taxpayers would also receive a copy of the information accessed and any report issued on how it was used.
Earlier this year, Isakson co-sponsored S.941, the Taxpayer Nondiscrimination & Protection Act of 2013, a bill introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., that would add criminal penalties for IRS employees who target political organizations. Isakson also co-sponsored S.937, the Project Against Ideology-Based Targeting Act, which was introduced by Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., that would prohibit the IRS from targeting organizations based on ideology.
In May 2013, Isakson joined 44 of his Senate colleagues in sending a letter to President Obama demanding full compliance with congressional investigation requests for information on how the IRS targeted conservative groups. The senators also outlined their concerns regarding conflicting responses from the nonpartisan agency and said it is imperative the administration work with Congress to restore public confidence. To view the text of the letter, click here.
On May 21, 2013, Isakson demanded answers from former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioners Steven Miller and Douglas Shulman at a Senate Finance Committee hearing examining the IRS targeting conservative political groups.