Republicans for tax cheats
April 20, 2017 1 Comment
No, seriously. This Post editorial nicely captures the dynamic:
Still, we’re not so naive as to believe that compliance would be unchanged if cheaters were never caught. That is one reason President Trump’s proposal to slash Internal Revenue Service funding is such an abysmal idea. The president last month suggested reducing the national tax collector’s $11.2 billion budget by $239 million — this after Republicans already have cut $1 billion from its budget since taking over Congress at the beginning of this decade.
Attacking the IRS is a particularly expensive way to play to the crowd. It rewards tax cheats at everyone else’s expense. Commissioner John Koskinen estimates that the government loses at least $4 for every $1 cut from the IRS and is losing some $4 billion to $8 billion a year due to inadequate funding. [emphasis mine]
The agency’s workforce has contracted by some 17,000 employees in recent years while demands on the agency, from preventing identity theft to enforcing Obamacare’s individual health-insurance mandate, have expanded. Fewer employees means less enforcement: Last year the agency conducted the fewest audits since 2004 — when the U.S. population was about 30 million smaller, the Associated Press notes — and its audit rate has declined to a point not seen since 2003. The more the integrity of the tax oversight system comes into doubt, the more tax-day shenanigans people will attempt — and the more even honest people will wonder why they bother paying such close attention while less scrupulous people get rewarded.
But, I suppose most of those tax cheats are wealthy people, so, I guess it’s all good with Republicans.