The National Society of Accountants (NSA) today delivered a strongly worded letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Appropriations Committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives criticizing them for slashing the budget of the Internal Revenue Service by hundreds of millions of dollars.
The House bill calls for an $838 million cut in 2016 from the 2015 budget of $10.9 billion, which is also $2.8 billion less than President Obama’s 2016 budget request. The Senate bill proposes a cut of $470 million.
“Individual and small business taxpayers are being harmed by IRS budget cuts on a daily basis,” NSA Executive Vice President John Ams wrote in the letter. “They are desperate for the kind of help and guidance that only the IRS can provide but for which the agency has little or no budgeted funds.”
He added that these cuts continue a multi-year trend of declining budgets for the IRS.
The IRS Taxpayer Advocate found that in 2014, 35.6 percent of phone calls went unanswered by IRS customer service representatives and 50 percent of written correspondence was not handled in a timely manner.
The NSA letter expressed support for a November 9 letter signed by five former IRS commissioners sent to these same Congressional leaders that said, ““We do not understand why anyone with present and projected debts and annual losses as large as those of the United States would refuse to pay for telephone assistance to people trying to fulfill their tax obligations, would turn their back on $8 billion annually in additional revenue, or would fail to make an investment that offers a return equal to at least four times the amount invested.”
NSA President Kathy Hettick concluded the letter with the statement, “If you truly believe, as you state, that ‘we need the IRS to enforce tax laws, stop and prevent fraud, prepare forms and instruction, process refunds, collect revenue and assist taxpayers in complying with tax obligations,’ then the first step would be to develop a budget for the IRS that would actually provide the agency the means with which to do so.”