Warren Bill Puts IRS Before Taxpayers

Warren proposal would leave poor Americans to mercy of IRS

If you believe the IRS should be even more expensive, inefficient and bloated, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a plan for you.

Last year, Warren concocted the so-called “Tax Filing Simplification Act.” The scheme actually puts the federal government in the tax preparation business. With Tax Day approaching, the senator appears to be dusting off the proposal for another go.

Warren’s legislation would “direct the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to develop a free, online tax preparation and filing service that taxpayers can use to prepare and file their taxes directly with the federal government.”

Not surprisingly, Warren’s plan socialist-style bureaucracy has garnered the backing of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and several other misguided members of the U.S. Senate.

Apparently Warren and her band of supporters aren’t aware of what most Americans already know: Free tax prep and e-filing services are widely available. In fact, thanks to a public-private partnership between the IRS and the tax software industry, 70 percent of all Americans already have access to free tax preparation and filing. The federal bureaucracy created by Warren’s bill would obliterate these successful partnerships.

Clearly, Warren’s proposal is little more than a solution in search of a problem.

What actually is a problem, however, is the clear conflict of interest created by the proposal. The IRS exists for the purpose of collecting taxes – and snagging as much tax money as possible in the process. Putting the agency in charge of tax preparation creates serious concerns over how the IRS could possibly look out for the best interest of Americans on its tax prep side when its overall goal is to squeeze every last dime out of taxpayers.

It creates a scenario where the fox is guarding the henhouse. And it will harm poorer taxpayers the most.

Wealthier Americans will be able to continue to hire tax attorneys and accountants to reduce their tax burdens. Because Warren’s proposal would kill the market for free and low-cost tax prep solutions, however, lower income Americans would be out of luck. Their only option will be to rely on the IRS to try to lower their tax bill – to the IRS. Good luck with that.

Read the rest at the Hill.

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Drew Johnson is a Senior Fellow at TPA. Drew is the founder of the Council on Responsible Local Government (CRLG). Prior to his work with CRLG, Drew founded and, from 2004-2009, served as president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research (TCPR). Drew is known for infusing investigative reporting and policy research, exposing government waste, corruption and hypocrisy as a result. These efforts have made him a frequent guest on television and radio, including appearances on Glenn Beck, Hannity and Colmes, All Things Considered, the BBC, Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer and The Sean Hannity Radio Show, among others. Additionally, Drew’s columns and articles have appeared in scores of newspapers, magazines and journals, including the Wall Street Journal, National Review and Human Events.