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Bipartisan Members Agree IRS Needs More Resources to Fulfill its Mission During the Coronavirus Crisis

October 7, 2020

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 7, 2020)—Today, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, held a hybrid hearing to examine the role of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) during the coronavirus pandemic, the financial condition of the IRS, and the state of the agency's information technology (IT).

"The severe financial, technical, and staffing problems at the IRS are a direct result of years of partisan hostility, reckless investigations, and unwarranted budget cuts from Republican majorities in Congress," Subcommittee Chairman Connolly said in his opening statement. "And today, when the American people are relying on the IRS the most, the agency is gasping for air."

At today's hearing, Members of the Committee examined how the resource depletions at the IRS have negatively impacted their constituents, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Subcommittee heard testimony from Charles P. Rettig, Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service; Erin M. Collins, National Taxpayer Advocate at the Taxpayer Advocate Service; and Vijay A. D'Souza, Director of Information Technology and Cybersecurity at the Government Accountability Office.

Members on both sides of the aisle discussed the negative impacts to their constituents of poor funding to the IRS.

  • "We need to be asking what the IRS could have done to help our country if it had been properly funded and adequately staffed, instead of being subjected to years of bitter Republican abuses," said Chairwoman Maloney.

Witnesses testified that, even in normal times, decreases in IRS funding and resources have had severe and real implications on the agency's ability to deliver critical services to taxpayers. These struggles are exacerbated in times of national crisis, as evidenced in the coronavirus pandemic.

  • "The IRS response [to COVID-19] serves to illustrate how critical it is for the agency to receive consistent, timely, and adequate multi-year funding such that we can succeed in providing the services that our country so rightly deserves," said Commissioner Rettig. "This funding is critical as the nation continues to weather COVID-19, and will also help the agency prepare for future emergencies."
  • "The IRS desperately needs more resources to do its job of helping taxpayers and collecting revenue," said Ms. Collins. "If the IRS continues to be starved its resources, it will continue to struggle."

Members and witnesses discussed how legacy IT systems have impeded the IRS's ability to serve the public and found bipartisan agreement that the IRS needs to reinvest agency savings into IT modernization efforts.

  • "Effective IT is essential to IRS's operations and was important to the distribution of millions of economic impact payments dispersed as part of the CARES Act," said Mr. D'Souza. "IRS's IT budget has been fairly flat over the last 10 years."