August 10, 2021

Warren, Whitehouse, Sanders Call for Improved IRS Taxpayer Services and Fair Tax Enforcement on Wealthy Tax Cheats in the Budget Reconciliation Infrastructure Package

Funding Would Provide the IRS with Resources to Crack Down on Wealthy Tax Cheats and Generate Revenue to Invest in Infrastructure, Child care, and More

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sent a letter to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles P. Rettig regarding the importance of providing the resources the IRS needs to go after wealthy tax cheats and provide faster and better service to the majority of Americans who are paying their fair share. The senators requested information regarding the benefits of investing in the IRS and the consequences of inaction.

The letter comes after Senate Republicans reneged on their agreement to include $40 billion in funding for the IRS in the bipartisan infrastructure bill, “caving to corporate lobbyists and ideological extremists who want to keep the IRS from tackling the complex tax evasion schemes of the ultra-rich and the armies of financial advisors, accountants, and lawyers hired to facilitate these schemes,” as the senators wrote in the letter.

The top 1% of Americans fail to report more than a fifth of their income on their tax returns, and they account for more than a third of all unpaid federal income tax. New deeply troubling reporting indicates that they pay far less in taxes on their ever-growing wealth than most middle-class wage-earners. Similarly, giant corporations have an ever-more complex set of schemes that they use to reduce their taxes – with many of America’s largest and most profitable corporations paying nothing in taxes. This kind of tax evasion has created a massive tax gap – the difference between taxes owed and taxes paid. 

“It is now more important than ever that we include investments in the IRS and fair tax enforcement in the budget reconciliation infrastructure package that Congress is developing,” the senators concluded.

The letter reiterates the call for proposals to increase funding and financial information reporting to the IRS, including the Biden administration’s tax compliance plan and Senator Warren’s Restoring the IRS Act, to help the IRS go after wealthy tax cheats and raise hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars. These proposals – which have strong bipartisan support, regardless of the reversal from Republicans in the bipartisan infrastructure negotiations – include sustained, multi-year funding for hiring and training agents dedicated to tackling complex tax evasions schemes of the ultra-wealthy and large corporations, modernizing IT systems, and improving taxpayer services. They also enjoy strong support from the public and revenues from these policies could be used for programs that benefit millions of Americans: infrastructure, child care, improved Medicare coverage, and much more.