The Internal Revenue Service insisted it couldn’t help taxpayers as much this tax season due to budget cuts, but the agency devoted precious resources to prioritizing worker bonuses, union activity and implementing Obamacare.
That’s according to a House Ways and Means Committee report released ahead of a subcommittee meeting with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
The commissioner insisted at the meeting that the agency could help more people if it were given a bigger budget, according to Fox News.
“Customer service, both on the phone and in person, has been far worse than anyone would want. It’s simply a matter of not having enough people to answer the phones and provide service at our walk-in sites as a result of cuts to our budget,” Koskinen said.
But Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa shot back that mismanagement of finances was to blame.
“I would just suggest to you that there’s hardly a person in America today that isn’t doing more with less, that hasn’t tightened their belt and learned how to work with less,” he said.
The report said the cuts were made to the IRS budget to “force the IRS to manage its resources more effectively and immediately stop inappropriate activities,” like targeting conservative groups for heightened scrutiny over tax-exempt eligibility.
The report revealed “spending decisions entirely under the IRS’s control led to 16 million fewer taxpayers receiving IRS assistance this filing season.”
All the while, the agency spent $1.2 billion on implementing Obamacare while not collecting debt owed by employees of the federal government and allowing staff to continue union activities and doling out bonuses to its own employees, Fox News reported.
“In January 2015, the IRS commissioner estimated that taxpayer service would decline while delays in tax refunds would increase. While the IRS commissioner has blamed this solely on budget cuts, in reality the IRS deliberately diverted resources away from taxpayer services,” according to the report.
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