House Republicans Push to Rein in IRS, Call for Transparency

As the nation gears up for April 15th and Tax Day, Republicans in the House of Representatives are preparing to pass a bevy of bills aimed at curbing the IRS and protecting taxpayers.

After more than a year of a constant stream of examples of IRS harassment, mostly of conservative groups and individuals, House Republicans are looking to rein in the out-of-control agency.

Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL), the principal author of several of these bills, says that the Obama administration is incapable of protecting the people from an out-of-control IRS.

"Practically every day, there's news of a new scandal at the IRS, and unfortunately it seems the administration is incapable of getting the IRS under control and restoring faith in the agency," Roskam said late last year. "The targeting of individuals by the IRS based on their political and social beliefs cuts to the core of [Americans'] trust in government, and it's time to institute reforms in order to protect taxpayers from further abuse."

Roskam already introduced H.R. 2530, which requires the taxing agency to inform taxpayers about what information it shares with other government agencies. It also limits audits to a span of one year.

Rep. Roskam is also heading up H.R. 2531, which would prevent the IRS from forcing taxpayers to answer questions about their religious or political beliefs.

A third bill, H.R. 3865, would put a hold on a proposed IRS rules change that would prevent 501(c)(4) organizations from engaging in get-out-the-vote activities. The bill would also clarify precisely the type of activities such an organization can conduct.

There are several new government transparency bills coming from House Republicans, as well.

One, H.R. 1423, would require every federal agency to reveal the number of its employees, its costs, and to give detailed descriptions of its programs, the latter with an eye toward eliminating programs that are duplicated in other agencies.

A second is H.R. 3308, a bill that would require federal agencies to disclose when tax dollars are used to advertise government programs.


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