Chairman Quigley Statement at Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for the Internal Revenue Service Hearing

2022-05-18 13:03

Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL), Chair of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for the Internal Revenue Service.

This morning we welcome Charles P. Rettig, Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, to testify on the IRS’s fiscal year 2023 budget request.

Commissioner, I know you have been making the rounds on Capitol Hill and we are your fifth hearing this spring. We are pleased that you could fit us into your schedule.

Since your term ends in November, I realize this could be your last time appearing before us as Commissioner of the IRS. If so, I would like to thank you for your public service.

It is no small task to lead the IRS in normal times, but the last two years have been anything but normal. As a result of the pandemic, the IRS has had to deal with office closures that disrupted tax filing seasons; increased responsibilities such as administering three rounds of economic stimulus payments and new monthly child tax credits; and creation of new portals and partnerships to increase customer outreach.

Our time today provides us with an opportunity to focus on how we can work together to fulfill the IRS’s mission to provide American taxpayers with top quality service and enforcing tax laws with integrity and fairness for all.

The IRS began the filing season with a historic backlog. And many taxpayers tried to call for assistance on how to properly file their returns, only to turn away disappointed after being unable to reach anyone.   

Congress responded to this dire situation in the most recent appropriations bill, providing the IRS with additional funding to hire customer service representatives and special authorities to expedite hiring.

I’m pleased that the IRS is taking full advantage of this authority to bring aboard 10,000 new workers. I’m eager to hear about the progress in meeting your recruiting goals and the impact this is having on reducing the backlog and improving customer service metrics.

We understand, however, that this is just a down payment on restoring the IRS to where it needs to be after years of underfunding.

The fiscal year 2023 IRS budget requests $6.3 billion for Enforcement.  This is a $835 million, or 15 percent, increase above the enacted level.  These funds will make a dent in restoring critical Enforcement staff, which has experienced a 30 percent decrease in personnel 2010.

It is critical that the IRS has the skilled examiners, auditors, and criminal investors to ensure that everyone is paying their fair share of taxes and wealthy individuals and corporations comply with the law. Doing so is also a key step toward reducing a tax gap that is estimated at over $600 billion.

I’m happy to report we recently secured $30 million in the Ukraine Supplemental to support the Criminal Investigation Division’s unique role in partnering with other Federal agencies to trace financial activities associated with Russian Oligarchs. I’m eager to discuss IRS’s progress in this area and what more we can do to adequately fund this Division.

I know the IRS also has critical long-term initiatives, including the six-year integrated Business Systems Modernization Plan, a roadmap to modernize and retire its legacy IT systems.

And the Tax Payer First Act includes 45 provisions, including specific mandates to improve the taxpayer experience, that will take years to fully implement. Progress in this area may have been interrupted because of the pandemic, but I hope these mandates are not overlooked and remain priorities for the IRS.

Lastly, I want to take this time to thank the hardworking staff at the IRS for their continued commitment, expertise, and dedication to IRS’s mission. I know the last two years have not been easy and we look forward to hearing about IRS’s progress.

117th Congress