Tax season is already stressful enough. Complicated forms, delayed refunds, and long customer service wait times have become the norm for the IRS. But last week taxpayers learned that their most sensitive personal information remains vulnerable to hackers.
Far from reassuring taxpayers, the IRS said it would take a look at the GAO’s recommendations, and get back to Congress within 60 days. Speaker Ryan called on the agency to act immediately.
The Chicago Sun-Times also weighed in: “We share Ryan’s skepticism about that 60 days. Why more delay? This is not a new problem. It is deeply unsettling to hundreds of millions of Americans that their most private tax return information may be at risk.”
Now, that same editorial quotes one Senate Democrat trying to provide cover for the IRS by attributing the problem to budget cuts. We are in fact committed to rooting out wasteful spending and redirecting resources to better serving taxpayers. Here’s why:
- A Ways and Means Committee report released last year detailed various instances of egregious waste and reckless spending decisions at the IRS, including how the agency intentionally cut its own customer service budget.
- Moreover, a separate independent study discovered that despite increased funding to protect taxpayer data, the IRS slashed its cybersecurity staff.
- The most recent government funding bill granted additional resources—specifically at the agency’s request—to bolster cybersecurity.
The IRS’s problem isn’t funding—it’s a culture of impunity. The agency feels free to disregard its problems while taxpayers are left vulnerable.
House Republicans are determined to get this right for all hardworking taxpayers, and we continue to call on the IRS to do more to protect taxpayer data now.