Biden’s IRS Surveillance Scheme Hits An Unexpected Roadblock

Recently, Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat, weighed in on the recent proposal for banks to report individual account information to the IRS, a highly controversial plan.

However, Manchin noted that the plan for mass IRS surveillance on American’s individual bank accounts is likely dead.

On Tuesday, Manchin remarked that he spoke with President Joe Biden directly about the proposal, which would have required for banks to report on all account outflows and inflows of over $10,000 to the IRS. The presumed goal of such reporting would be to eliminate tax fraud.

However, after meeting with Biden, Manchin determined that such a provision for the IRS would likely not be in the human infrastructure plan.

Manchin, who is a key swing vote on various partisan legislative efforts, declared that the IRS plan is “screwed up,” and Biden apparently agreed with Manchin’s assertions.

“I think that [provision] is going to be gone,” Manchin proclaimed during an Economic Club of Washington appearance on Tuesday.

The first version of the IRS tax proposal was even more aggressive, as it proposed targeting all outflows and inflows of $600 or higher. However, Republican representatives and the banking industry fiercely opposed this measure, which resulted in the second iteration of the proposal: tracking all outflows and inflows of $10,000 and higher.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who heads the Finance Committee, have been fervent supporters of the IRS measure. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has also fully supported IRS surveillance.

Citing IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, Wyden claimed that the annual tax gap would be as high as $1T per year. Requiring banks to report outflows and inflows may narrow the gap between total taxes paid and total taxes owed.

“Working people pay their taxes voluntarily,” Wyden brayed, adding that “a wealthy business owner … is on an honor system.”

“The arguments against information reporting have always been the same,” Wyden continued, “and they’ve always been wrong.”

Republicans have fought back fiercely against measures that promote IRS surveillance, noting that such provisions would grossly violate privacy and represent a logistical challenge.

In addition, Republicans have also noted that the IRS has inappropriate cybersecurity safeguards in place, given the massive leak of personal taxpayer documents to a major media outlet. The incident further eroded the public’s trust in the federal institution.