IRS nabs $1 billion from rich tax cheats while GOP fights to defund it

The Internal Revenue Service beefed up its enforcement efforts last fall—and the push is paying off quickly. The tax-collecting agency announced Thursday that it scooped up more than $1 billion in past-due taxes from millionaires since October, an achievement that the House GOP is still trying to undo.

“With this collection activity, the IRS passed an important milestone in our effort to improve compliance and ensure fairness in the tax system,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “Our increased work in this area means these past-due tax bills from high-end taxpayers are no longer being left on the table, like they were too often in the past.”

The IRS launched its new enforcement efforts on millionaires and big corporations at the end of October 2023, and managed to reap this return in just eight months.

“The collection results achieved in less than a year reveal the magnitude of what can be achieved over the long run as our Inflation Reduction enforcement continues to ramp up in the months ahead,” Werfel added. 

Werfel is referring to the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act championed by President Joe Biden and the Democrats, which provided a 10-year, $80 billion investment in the IRS, with $45.6 billion over 10 years specifically earmarked for tax enforcement. Every single Republican in the House and Senate voted against that bill. 

The Republican quest to protect tax-cheating millionaires continued with the very first policy vote the House GOP took in 2023 after regaining the majority. Republicans voted in lock-step to repeal that IRS funding—a repeal which the Congressional Budget Office said would decrease federal revenue by $186 billion between 2023 and 2032, costing the government more than $114 billion

That repeal effort was squashed by the Democratic-controlled Senate, but the GOP is still at it. Republicans are trying to defund the IRS in next year’s appropriations bill, attempting to cut $2.2 billion from the agency, or about 18% of its budget for next year alone. A full $2 billion of those cuts would come from enforcement funding.

As always, Republicans are looking out for the super-rich (and the Pentagon) while drafting bills that would screw the rest of us.


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