Chairman Quigley Statement at Oversight of the Internal Revenue Service Hearing

2021-02-23 10:19

Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL), Chair of the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's oversight hearing of the Internal Revenue Service:

This morning we welcome the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Charles Rettig, to testify on the state of the IRS.

Commissioner, thank you for being here today.

The past year has tested the strength, patience, and resolve of the American people. The coronavirus pandemic is a public health crisis that has caused an economic crisis.

Many Americans have lost their jobs and are facing food insecurity and struggling to pay their bills.

Congress quickly jumped into action passing multiple relief packages, which in part tasked the IRS with the Herculean effort of implementing these policies in a very short time.

I commend the IRS for what they have been able to accomplish.

The IRS has issued over 300 million Economic Impact Payments totaling more than $400 billion to help taxpayers during these trying times.

For many, these payments have been a lifeline, enabling families to put food on the table and put gas in their cars, which is why I want to make sure that every American who is entitled to this money, receives it,

And I’m troubled that there are people who have not received their checks.

President Biden immediately got to work to provide additional relief for the American people.

His American Rescue Plan includes the remaining $1,400 checks that people were promised. It also temporarily expands the Child Tax Credit which could help cut child poverty in the United States by as much as 50 percent. And I fully support the $397 million needed for the IRS to implement this effort.

Right now, we are twelve days in to the 2020 filing season.  In a normal year, providing quality customer service and timely refunds is a challenge, but these tasks are now compounded, and the IRS is stretched thin.

With an unprecedented backlog of over 8.7 million unprocessed tax returns, staffing shortages due to safety concerns in IRS processing centers, outdated IRS IT systems, and IRS’s new role in administering stimulus payments and child tax credits, I’d like to hear from you Commissioner on the IRS’s readiness for this tax season and if any additional resources are needed.

Recently, the IRS published its first Taxpayer First Act report which describes a six-year plan to modernize IRS systems, improve customer service, and reorganize the IRS with servicing the taxpayer as its central focus.  I’m eager to hear more about the benefits of this plan and how the IRS can move forward to accomplish these goals.

Lastly, as the IRS is managing these multiple efforts simultaneously, I want to emphasize the importance of ensuring the safety of its workforce.

With close to 80,000 IRS employees, many of which are required to work on-site during the filing season, it is crucial that the IRS adhere to COVID safety protocols and continue communication with the union and staff on all COVID safety matters.

With that in mind, 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.

Mr. Commissioner, I look forward to having a robust conversation today on these important issues.

117th Congress