Dems’ new $600 scheme to let IRS spy on Americans challenged

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U.S. Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) filed an amendment to the Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spend legislation to prevent the monitoring and reporting of sensitive American taxpayer information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by financial institutions.  The Democrats’ proposal would press private-sector financial institutions into reporting deposit and withdrawal flows on their customers’ accounts above a mere $600 in value.  This comprehensive financial account reporting scheme would squeeze even more resources out of responsible Americans and entrepreneurs, create an unnecessary burden on financial institutions of all sizes, and violate almost all Americans’ privacy. 

 “The IRS financial institution reporting requirement forces financial institutions to turn over detailed bank account information to the IRS based on vague and ‘flexible’ criteria, such as a $600 threshold and account inflows and outflows, which are determined by the IRS,” said Crapo.  “This time-draining burden disregards banking privacy in order to squeeze more resources out of responsible Americans and entrepreneurs.  It subjects law-abiding Americans to more intense targeting from the IRS and additional data collection, a concern that was recently amplified by a leak of private taxpayer information out of the IRS.  I have long been critical of big data collection activities, and oppose turning banks and brokers into government tax collectors.  My amendment prevents the undue monitoring and reporting of sensitive American taxpayer information to the IRS by financial institutions about deposits and withdrawals made by any individual or business.”  

The Independent Community Bankers of AmericaCredit Union National AssociationAmerican Bankers Association and National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions support Crapo’s amendment, and have expressed strong concerns with the proposal, citing concerns with the increased burden on financial institutions; privacy concerns for customers; and other unintended consequences for personal and business account holders across the spectrum.  

Privacy concerns at the IRS have only been amplified by the egregious apparent leak of taxpayer information out of the Agency, with data ending up in the hands of a news outlet which reported sensationalized and misleading claims about taxes paid by named individuals.