I first answered the call to public service when I decided to serve my country as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel after 20 years. I continued that service when I put my name forth as a candidate for public office. However, sometimes this calling comes in a much simpler form—speaking up when you see something wrong. This can be just as important and impactful.
While there always seems to be some new, half-baked policy coming out of Washington, D.C. these days, I was compelled to speak out against one such proposal that would hurt everyday Americans. Recently, the far-left wing of the Democratic caucus wants to dramatically grow the size of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to be both tax preparer and tax filer for American taxpayers. This is a classic example of more unwanted government growth.
Under this tax prep system, the IRS would act as both the tax preparer and tax collector. This represents an inherent conflict of interest and is a recipe for disaster for a federal agency that is famously bad at doing the job it already has! The IRS’s job is to collect as much revenue for the U.S. government as possible; not to ensure that taxpayers receive all the deductions they deserve. When we file our taxes, we follow the complicated tax law to ensure we are maximizing our legal deductions and not overpaying the government.
If the IRS takes over the entire process, do you actually believe they are going to look out for taxpayers’ best interests?
While a bloated and ineffectual federal agency might be the stuff of dreams for progressives in D.C., it’s the stuff of nightmares for average hard-working Americans every tax season. Our political leaders, regardless of party, should recognize that this system is not only bad policy, but also bad politics.
Just recently, a prominent Democratic pollster found that Americans are overwhelmingly satisfied with their current tax preparation method and would recommend it to others. This poll also found that when voters were asked to rank priorities for the IRS, establishing a government-run tax preparation came in dead last.
In another key report on this issue, the nonprofit and non-partisan MITRE found that 60% of Americans would rather continue with their current tax preparation method if the new IRS-run system couldn’t file returns at the state and federal levels. And the IRS recently admitted just that; the agency could not prepare state or local tax returns. Few issues in polarized America are as clear cut as this.
If Democratic congressional leaders won’t listen to one of their leading pollsters, perhaps they might listen to one of their own. A former Democratic congressman recently took to the pages of The Wall Street Journal to share a message that I think many of us could get behind – the IRS should focus on its existing core mission of collecting and enforcing tax laws and not forcefully nudge its way into the tax preparation business.
Many of the progressive proponents of this plan still won’t acknowledge the blatantly poor record the IRS has of treating Black Americans and marginalized communities as second-class citizens. Following a report from Stanford University that showed Black Americans were audited nearly five times more often than White Americans, the IRS finally admitted that they knew this injustice was true. How exactly the IRS plans to right this wrong —while also building out a bureaucratic nightmare of a new tax filing system — remains to be seen.
While this plan is underway, there is still a long road ahead of implementation—and room for Nevada’s elected leaders to step up and voice their opposition. If Senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto don’t care about national polls or their fellow former Democratic colleague, I would think they would listen to their constituents. The Remington Research Group poll showed that nearly 76% of Nevadans oppose this plan, and 59% said they would be less inclined to support an elected official who wants to expand the power of the IRS. Those are numbers to remember for anyone running for office.