Lawmakers are seeking answers on the destruction of 30 million tax documents by the Internal Revenue Service in March 2021.
Here’s What Happened
Three years after the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) destroyed 30 million unprocessed, paper-filed informational tax returns, the agency refuses to hand over a memorandum requested by the Ways and Means Committee detailing the decision to do so.
In a letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman David Schweikert (AZ-01) are demanding the agency provide a copy of the memorandum as requested and answer questions that the agency willfully ignored last year.
The committee is looking for the memo by August 8, but the tax agency has not complied with previous requests for additional information. For example, the committee asked for the memo on May 17, 2022, but the IRS said it would be too risky on May 18, 2022 and declined to provide it, according to the letter.
“The decision to destroy information returns diligently prepared by millions of American taxpayers demands congressional oversight,” the letter said. “The destruction of these returns raises the question of whether information reporting should be scaled back to reduce the burden placed on taxpayers in reporting information the IRS does not even use.”
They say the IRS is not doing enough to cooperate with the investigation. In particular, lawmakers say the agency has refused to hand over the “decision memorandum” that authorized the destruction of the documents.
“The Biden administration’s refusal to respond to the Committee, engage in a substantive discussion with staff about the request, and ultimately deny access to the decision memorandum obstructs Congress’s ability to conduct our important oversight responsibilities…” the letter said.
When asked if the documents were primarily from individuals or from companies, the congressman said that it is likely ones impacting individuals.
A major goal of seeing the memo is to better understand not only what documents were destroyed but also why.
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