The Biden administration is actively pushing Congress to require edges to report to the Internal Revenue Service on the account activity of a huge swath of Americans. This unwarranted snooping would be an invasion of privacy, and lawmakers should make sure it doesn’t happen.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the IRS have asked Congress to mandate edges send along annual inflows and outflows from accounts with at the minimum $600 or $600 worth of transactions. That’s a low bar that would expose the majority of bank accounts to additional scrutiny.
The administration claims this would allow the IRS to conduct audits more efficiently.
In reality, it’s all about the federal government trying to squeeze Americans for additional tax dollars in an effort to fund Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget wish list. Or as Yellen phrased it in a letter to Congress, the government has “a shortage of necessary funds for meaningful national priorities.” Biden officials calculate this could bring in upward of $400 billion over a decade.
This is a sleazy way to go about it, and it offends Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. Taking all these records and sifting by them for possible audits is an incredible overreach and an unheard of invasion of the privacy of untold millions of Americans.
It’s also none of the federal government’s business.
Business and banking groups are pushing back hard, as are some state legislatures.
Rann Paynter, president and CEO of the Michigan Bankers Association, says the plan would make difficulty both financial institutions and consumers.
“It’s certainly a burden to the holders of those accounts, and an invasion of privacy to Americans for that kind of information to be shared with the IRS,” he says. “It’s a lot of information to provide to the government that is not necessary.”
Paynter notes that if the IRS is concerned about some individuals or businesses avoiding their proportion of taxes, the agency already has the tools it needs to probe.
The pushback has caused House Democrats to put aside the proposal for now — at the minimum in its existing form. They are nevertheless considering a version that would impact fewer people.
U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., has noted the concern over the negative impact this could have on low-income Americans, whom Democrats purport to want to help. however Kildee, who is on the Ways and method Committee, also said the issue isn’t “completely gone,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
Given the invasiveness of the proposal, it needs to go away. Congress should ignore the demands of the Biden administration and make sure this extraordinary approach to tracking of the bank accounts of average Americans never happens.
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