One year ago, news broke that criminal hackers infiltrated IRS data systems and gained access to more than 100,000 taxpayers’ most personal information. Your Social Security number, date of birth, home address, income level—you name it—were all left completely exposed.
In response, Congress agreed to provide the IRS with additional funds to beef up cybersecurity and ensure something like this never happened again. But just over a month ago, we discovered that the IRS has still not patched gaping security flaws that leave taxpayer information vulnerable to hackers.
An independent watchdog provided the agency with 43 detailed recommendations to help protect your most personal data. Federal law requires the IRS to report to Congress with its progress on implementing these reforms within 60 days—by May 26th. Instead of working in good faith the fix these problems, the IRS has resorted to the same tired excuses we’ve heard over and over and over again.
Please understand our skepticism. This agency doesn’t exactly have a sterling track record when it comes to working in the best interest of taxpayers. In fact, the same watchdog report notes that the IRS falsely claimed to have successfully implemented previous recommendations to strengthen cybersecurity.
The IRS is not doing its job, so we’re doing everything possible to force the agency to clean up its act. Earlier this year, we enacted several new laws to crack down on political targeting and strengthen taxpayer rights. And just last month we passed additional measures to improve IRS customer service and hold employees accountable to the American people.
As Speaker Ryan recently said, “We need to build a new culture at the IRS, which is why reforms like this are so important. Ultimately, we need to reform our tax code. This will be part of the agenda that we are going to be presenting to the American people. Right now, we have a tax code that no one can understand being enforced by an agency that no one trusts. We need an IRS—and a tax code—that works for the taxpayer. We don’t have one now, and that is one of the causes to which this majority is dedicated to.”