House Democrat Bill Pascrell calls on Biden to replace IRS chief over destruction of tax documents ‘scandal’


Charles P. Rettig, Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, testifies during the Senate Finance Committee hearing entitled The IRS’ Fiscal Year 2022 Budget, at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. , June 8, 2021.

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On Friday, a prominent House Democrat called on President Joe Biden to replace IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig over the agency’s controversial destruction of data related to 30 million paper tax returns.

“The IRS is vital to public trust in our nation and its Trump-appointed leader has failed,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee’s oversight subcommittee.

“This latest revelation adds to the fall in public confidence in our unfair two-tier tax system,” Pascrell said.

“That trust cannot recover if all the American people see in the IRS is incompetence and disaster,” the Democrat added. “The manner in which we learn of the destruction of unprocessed documents is just the latest example of Mr. Rettig’s nonchalant attitude.”

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The White House and the IRS did not immediately return requests for comment on Pascrell’s statement.

The call for Rettig’s ouster came after the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration released the findings of an audit, which angered tax preparers.

The audit found that the IRS has continued “to have a significant backlog of paper-based individual and business tax returns that remain unprocessed” since the agency reopened tax processing centers in June 2020. , months after the Covid-19 pandemic led to their closure.

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This inability to process paper filing backlogs “contributed to management’s decision to destroy approximately 30 million paper information filing documents in March 2021”, the audit found.

These documents may include W-2 forms and other information sent by employers and financial institutions to the IRS.

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Tax preparers told UKTN they are concerned that destroying the documents will leave the IRS unable to verify the details of a taxpayer’s returns, which in turn can lead to delays in refunds.

“I was horrified when I read the report describing the destruction of paper information statements,” said Phyllis Jo Kubey, president of the New York State Society of Enrolled Agents.

The IRS said Thursday, “There were no adverse consequences for taxpayers as a result of this action.”

“The taxpayers or payers have not been and will not be subject to any penalties as a result of this action,” the agency said.

That claim wasn’t good enough for Pascrell, who said members of the Ways and Means Committee and other members of Congress “have shown immense patience with the IRS.”

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“IRS career staff have performed admirably under immense pressure, limited resources, and nearly impossible circumstances during this pandemic,” Pascrell said. “Republican sabotage of this agency over the past decade has exacerbated these challenges. During our hearings, I showed repeated deference to the reform work of the IRS, but enough is enough.”

He later continued in the statement, “This latest revelation adds to the plummeting public confidence in our unfair two-tier tax system. That confidence cannot recover if all that Americans see in the IRS is incompetence and disaster.”

“Mr. Rettig has had plenty of time and a lot of cooperation to begin the crucial work of remediation from the IRS. There needs to be real accountability. President Biden needs to replace Mr. Rettig immediately and also appoint a chief attorney to the IRS.”

– UKTN’s Kate Dore contributed to this report



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