Feb 21, 2023

Bill to Rein in IRS Powers Earns ABA, Chamber Support

Feb 21, 2023 | Banks, News

 A newly legislative proposal to block the Biden administration’s efforts to increase IRS powers to force banks to disclose private bank account information to the Internal Revenue Service has received support from both the US Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) and the American Bankers Association (ABA). That bill, the Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act, is the latest Senate Republican response to the administration’s effort to provide the IRS with new authority to dig into Americans’ personal finances.

In a press release, the ABA praised the Senate Republicans responsible for introducing the bill, including Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo and Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Tim Scott. The duo were co-sponsors of the legislation, which would bar the IRS from creating any new arbitrary requirements designed to compel financial entities to report normal everyday financial transactions by Americans.

According to the ABA’s statement:

“While we firmly believe that everyone should honor their tax obligations, the American people have a reasonable right to privacy and Congress should consider how the IRS can use its existing authorities to focus on those suspected of evading their taxes, rather than casting such a wide and unnecessary net. We urge lawmakers to listen to concerns of their constituents and advance this commonsense proposal.” 

The Chamber of Commerce weighs in

For its part, the Chamber of Commerce suggested that the IRS already has the tools it needs to thwart tax evasion, and that giving the agency any additional arbitrary powers to surveille US citizens would be an infringement on banking customers’ right to privacy. As the Chamber noted, the proposed bill would have no impact on the agency’s ability to issue subpoenas or enforce provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act.

The Chamber of Commerce statement noted that the proposed bill is needed to “allow individuals and small businesses to make normal financial transactions in their everyday lives without fear of increased and unnecessary scrutiny from the federal government.”

Republicans authored the bill as part of an effort to head off the current administration’s attempts to expand IRS powers and enable the agency to force banks to report customer financial account activities with an annual total value of $600 or more.

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