Too Much Is Never Enough For The IRS

March 13, 2023

Last year, Senate Democrats used the budget process to pass the Inflation Reduction Act without a single Republican vote. Included in that monstrosity was an $80 billion payday for the Internal Revenue Service—more than six and a half times the amount of funding that the IRS would normally receive. After this happened, I had a lot of Tennesseans ask me “why does the IRS need that much money?” Many of them are scared that the IRS is going to come after them. And unfortunately, they’re right. 

The Biden administration insists they’re going to use that $80 billion to help the IRS answer the phones—but we know it means more audits. This administration has never once passed up an opportunity to expand government power, and they aren’t about to start now. We know that this expansion will lead to needless harassment. That’s the nature of Big Government. But I am equally concerned about the sheer amount of data the IRS will scrape up during these investigations.

The IRS already collects far more data than they need to. In 2022, they hired a contractor to block taxpayers from accessing government services unless they handed over sensitive biometric data. They already have your name, address and social security number—but now, they want to collect a picture of your government ID, your fingerprints, and a selfie. Why in the world would we allow the IRS to collect that?

The answer, of course, is that most people wouldn’t if they had the choice. But the IRS wants to force this on the American people. To make matters worse, we know that they are completely incapable of protecting the data they insist they need. 

Let’s just take a moment to look at some of the instances where the IRS has shown their disregard for data security: In 2015, hackers exposed more than 700,000 taxpayer social security numbers; in 2017 the IRS notified Congress that hackers had accessed more than 100,000 Federal Student Aid accounts; in 2021 the infamous “ProPublica” leak unlawfully exposed financial information on many prominent Americans; and in 2022 the 990-T leak exposed the sensitive information of more than 100,000 taxpayers. Twice.

But even on a good day, the bureaucrats at the IRS have refused to prioritize data security. They still haven’t responded to inquiries I made about what security protocols they implemented as part of their pandemic-era “work from home” policy.

The IRS should be collecting the minimum amount of information required to do their jobs, and doing all they can to protect it. Instead, this agency has a giant flashing sign out front inviting hackers to browse taxpayer data. These bad actors already know the IRS is vulnerable, and we will not be able to control that threat until the IRS abandons its latest power grab and prioritizes data security. This is what the Biden administration needs to focus on before it spends $80 billion to harass the American people.