The Ways & Means Committee today approved a series of bills that will bring accountability and transparency to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), including Rep. Jim Renacci’s (OH-16) Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act. This legislation authorizes the IRS to terminate employees who target individuals based on their political beliefs.
“Though it’s been nearly two years since we learned of the IRS’ abuse of power, the American people’s distrust in the agency remains,” said Renacci. “If someone at the IRS targets taxpayers based on their political beliefs, he or she should be held accountable. It’s that simple.”
In 1998, Congress enacted the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act, a bill that calls for immediate termination of an employee who commits one of the “10 Deadly Sins” against taxpayers. The targeting of a taxpayer or group based on their political beliefs is not currently on that list.
Renacci added, “The Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act adds political targeting to the list of fireable offenses at the IRS. I was proud to see the Ways & Means Committee unanimously approve this commonsense legislation as it is a step in the right direction to restoring a federal government that is accountable to the American people – and not the other way around.”
On July 31, 2013, the Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act, formerly known as the STOP IRS Act, passed the House of Representatives without opposition, but it never received a vote in the Senate. The Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act has 50 bipartisan cosponsors; you may find a copy of the bill text here and view his opening remarks here or below.
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Below is a list of the current “10 Deadly Sins” or fireable offenses:
1. Willful failure to obtain the required approval signatures on documents authorizing a seizure of a taxpayer’s home, personal belongings, or business assets.
2. Providing a false statement under oath with respect to a material matter involving a taxpayer or taxpayer representative.
3. Violating the rights protected under the Constitution or the civil rights established under six specifically identified laws with respect to a taxpayer, taxpayer representative, or other employee of the IRS.
4. Falsifying or destroying documents to conceal mistakes made by any employee with respect to a matter involving a taxpayer or taxpayer representative.
5. Assault or battery of a taxpayer, taxpayer representative, or employee of the IRS but only if there is a criminal conviction, or a final judgment by a court in a civil case, with respect to the assault or battery.
6. Violating the Internal Revenue Code, Department of the Treasury regulations, or policies of the IRS (including the Internal Revenue Manual) for the purpose of retaliating against, or harassing a taxpayer, taxpayer representative, or other employee of the IRS.
7. Willful misuse of the provisions of Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code for the purpose of concealing information from a congressional inquiry.
8. Willful failure to file any return of tax required under the Internal Revenue Code on or before the date prescribed therefore (including any extensions), unless such failure is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect.
9. Willful understatement of federal tax liability, unless such failure is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect.
10. Threatening to audit a taxpayer for the purpose of extracting personal gain or benefit.