Americans may expect an additional 87,000 IRS agents to provide them with “better service” under the $740 billion “Inflation Reduction Act,” according to one liberal representative.
During a period of high inflation and a recession, the legislation passed by U.S. Senators broke even. All 50 Democratic senators voted in favor of the bill, while all 50 Republican senators voted against it, allowing Vice Pres. Kamala Harris to break the tie vote.
While the bill focuses on climate and health spending — an additional $80 billion would mostly go towards IRS enforcement and operations, as well as data technology modernization. Over the next decade, IRS enforcement will aim to increase auditing of the wealthy while imposing a minimum tax on large businesses.
Working-class Americans, on the other hand, are concerned that more agents will result in higher taxes, given Sen. Joe Manchin’s earlier declaration that increasing taxes during a downturn is unethical.
When asked by “Fox News Sunday” host Mike Emanuel if expanding the IRS’s personnel pool to 87,000 new agents would “scare millions of Americans to death,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) sought to comfort taxpayers.
“Millions of Americans are not going to be affected by it, other than receiving better service from the IRS as a result of their phone answering and getting the questions they will need in order to comply with our tax laws,” Cardin added. “The auditing will focus on those with high incomes, large corporations, and so forth.”
More than half of the IRS’s audits last year targeted taxpayers making less than $75,000, with 40% receiving income tax credits. According to data, the agency has lost more than 16,000 employees since 2010.
“So there’s no reason to be afraid,” Sen. Cardin said. “And if you’ve paid your taxes and followed our rules, you should want everyone else to do the same thing.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told Dana Bash, host of State of the Union on CNN, that he thinks the IRS would go after America’s highest earners.
“The notion that there will be an army of IRS agents descending upon the typical American is ludicrous,” he continued.
According to the Washington Post, Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) addressed a press conference last week and said that the planned federal service spending would “put the IRS on steroids,” with total costs approaching $1 million per IRS agent.
“You don’t need that many IRS investigators to go after a few folks they claim are insanely rich,” Barrasso said, adding that the bill will have a “significant impact” on “families, farmers, and small businesses in the United States.”