Many would ask “Why should I, a citizen, vote for funding the agency that takes my money? If I do this, with their increased budget, they will find more ways to tax me.” Contrary to popular belief, the IRS is not the enemy. A large majority of the population views the IRS as the evil government agency that rips their hard-earned cash away from them. While it is true that it is depressing to see all of that money taken away on your pay stub, the government needs funding in order to maintain every single community in the country. Our tax dollars go to all public services, including schools, police, hospitals, the military, and many more. All of these important aspects of society would not be possible without the income that taxes generate. The money that you lose is given back to you through all of these public services.
The unfortunate truth is that you, the taxpayer, are being taken advantage of. Not by the IRS, however. The people that are taking advantage of you are the people who take advantage of tax loopholes and other ways of getting out of paying taxes, such as offshore accounts, as an example. In August 2020, The Taxpayer Advocate released a report with substantial data. According to the information provided, each household in the US is paying an additional $3,300 dollars on average in order to fill the void left by noncompliance in the country. That is enough money for a down payment on a car or that vacation you have been wanting to take. If the money held by the wealthy through the use of loopholes was collected as it should, you and your family would have a very substantial amount of money left in your pocket.
An estimated 46 billion dollars is lost every single year due to underreporting or no reporting of taxes by the 897 thousand wealthiest Americans. The wealthy have a vast pool of resources in cash, lawyers, accountants, and other options to help them game the system. These resources make the IRS’s job extremely difficult and complex. On top of this, due to the lack of funding available, the IRS has had to cut its available resources like employees and technology down quite a bit. There is a major effect that occurs based on these factors. The remaining employees are forced to focus more on people with lower income tax brackets, who do not have access to these extreme benefits because it is less of a hassle. From 2010 to 2015, because of the steady lowering of funding, audits of shady people making more than $1 million dollars dropped 72 percent, and audits of shady big businesses worth more than $20 billion dropped by 34 percent. This means that the average person will face more scrutiny, and the wealthy get away scot-free. When the remaining IRS employees focused on individuals with an income above 5 million, however, they obtained on average around $4500 dollars for the government per hour they spent. This is a goldmine of uncollected revenue that requires employees, technology, and funding to obtain. If the wealthy are scrutinized properly, then there will be more focus on the rich and less income coming out of your pockets.
The tax gap, an important reference, is a measurement of how much money is expected to be collected by the IRS, versus how much is actually collected. Annually, around 220 billion dollars are lost due to people cheating or not reporting their taxes. That is enough money to keep the entire US military functioning for months. If the IRS’s budget is raised, the government might see a lot more of that money and be much less incentivized to tax the average citizen so much. This is an issue because, over the past two decades, Congress has been at war with the IRS. There have been multiple instances where Congress has voted to reduce the IRS’s budget because our leaders are inherently wealthy. Increasing the IRS’s budget would only be detrimental to their bank accounts. It is a no-brainer for them to keep the middle and lower class footing the bill.
Another major issue within the IRS also stems from understaffing and outdated technology. The last thing you want when you call the IRS is a 20-minute wait time, but that is the current unfortunate reality. Their mailroom is also filled to the brim with unread letters. They do not have the funding to pay the proper amount of staff in order to maintain their day-to-day functions. A significant issue arose during the Covid 19 pandemic while people were attempting to claim their stimulus checks. The government had set up a website for people to claim what they were owed, but the website was poorly run and had a lot of errors. Many people did not receive their stimulus checks for months, and some did not get the $500 dollars per child that they were supposed to receive. Then, they were forced to call or write a letter to the agency and pray that their tickets were attended to. The IRS should not be so shoddily constructed. It should be an ally to the people, especially in a great time of need like the pandemic was. Increased funding for the agency would take a major change in its effectiveness in assisting the general public.
The middle and lower classes only stand to benefit from increased funding from the IRS. The common misconception that the IRS only wants to make a profit off of you is not true. They are responsible for the very funding of our communities and are a valuable tool that should be quick, effective, and seamless in their responses that only benefit the people, who deserve nothing but the best. This starts by allocating more resources so that they can become organized and effective in their endeavors. With the citizens of the country behind them and the proper resources, they can become an effective tool for the people.
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