Meehan, Noem bills to bring accountability, transparency to IRS clear committee

The House Ways and Means Committee approved bills on Wednesday introduced by U.S. Reps. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Pat Meehan (R-PA) to enhance IRS transparency and accountability.

The House Ways and Means Committee approved four bills, including Noem’s Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act, H.R. 3724, and Meehan’s IRS Bonuses Tied to Measurable Metrics Act, H.R. 4890.

Under Noem’s bipartisan Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act, the IRS would be prohibited from rehiring employees who were previously fired for misconduct.

“If a person has been fired for accessing private taxpayer information without permission or filing false documents, they should not be rehired and given access once again to our sensitive data,” Noem said. “But the IRS has done this hundreds of times. My bill does what IRS bureaucracy has refused to do. It stops them from rehiring people who have betrayed the trust of taxpayers. With unanimous consent from the committee, I’m hopeful we can move this commonsense solution forward quickly.”

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a report last February that found that “hundreds of former employees with prior substantiated conduct or performance issues ranging from tax issues, unauthorized access to taxpayer information, leave abuse, falsification of official forms, unacceptable performance, misuse of IRS property and off-duty misconduct” had been rehired by the IRS.

Meehan’s IRS Bonuses Tied to Measurable Metrics Act, meanwhile, would institute a ban on IRS employee bonuses until the secretary of the treasury develops and implements a comprehensive customer service strategy.

“The IRS has shown that it will prioritize bonuses over assisting taxpayers,” Meehan said. “This legislation would bring accountability to the process by requiring the IRS to complete a customer service strategy before paying out any more bonuses.”

U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), who voted in favor of both pieces of legislation during the committee markup on Wednesday, said that the measures would approve accountability and hiring standards within the IRS.

“As tax season winds to a close, it’s timely to review the recent performance at the IRS,” Paulsen said. “With customer service at all-time lows, more accountability is needed to ensure taxpayers have the support they need to file their taxes. Additionally, action is being taken to make sure that employees at the IRS are following the same rules that taxpayers are expected to follow.”

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