1. While testifying before the Ways and Means Committee on Friday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen made a number of remarks that were newsworthy, ranging from how IRS audits will impact the middle class, to her refusal to share details about who will really pay President Biden’s proposed tax hikes. Here are six key moments.
Secretary Yellen committed to make public the IRS’s plan for its $80 billion in new funding to hire 87,000 new agents.
Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) asked Secretary Yellen at the beginning of the hearing whether she would commit to providing Congress with the IRS’s plan for the $80 billion in new funding provided by Democrats in the so-called “Inflation Reduction” Act. Secretary Yellen promised that the plan would be provided in a matter of “weeks.”
2.Secretary Yellen admitted that the number of taxpayers facing new audits may rise, while the proportion of audits may stay the same relative to “recent years.”
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) asked Secretary Yellen about her directive that is supposed to protect middle-class taxpayers from a rise in audits. Yellen admitted that the number of audits would increase for families – but not the proportion of total audits. Based on Yellen’s answer, Rep. Smith summarized: “So, according to the data, we can expect up to 90 percent of the new audits to be on those making less than $400,000.”
3. Secretary Yellen refused to commit to showing how middle-class families and small businesses would be protected from President Biden’s tax hikes.
Chairman Smith asked Secretary Yellen to share the legislative text of President Biden’s proposed new tax hikes as part of his Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget, in order to show how, exactly, the middle class wouldn’t see higher taxes. But Secretary Yellen declined to commit to doing so.
4. Secretary Yellen admitted that Treasury’s proposed bank monitoring program that would surveil Americans’ personal bank transactions could not go forward without legislative approval.
Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA) noted to Secretary Yellen that Democrats’ attempt to create a bank surveillance program for the IRS was blocked by Republicans. He asked for assurances from the Secretary that none of the funds that are going to the IRS will be used to implement such a bank monitoring program unless it is directed explicitly by Congress. Secretary Yellen replied, “Of course not.”