Knudsen Demands Biden Administration Halts IRS Program
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen led a coalition of 13 attorneys general in demanding the Biden administration stop attempts to sidestep Congress by giving the Internal Revenue Service the sweeping authority to prepare and file tax returns for all taxpayers.
In a letter sent Tuesday, Jan. 30, to Department of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Knudsen opposed the IRS-run Direct File Pilot Program as the department was never granted the authority to create such a program by Congress. The program will also have negative consequences for low-income filers and devastate small businesses. He also raised concerns over the flawed study commissioned by the IRS to report on the system.
“Congress has never granted the Department of the Treasury authority to create a Direct File program. And for good reason: the American taxpayers do not want to invite the proverbial fox into the hen house,” Knudsen wrote. “The United States Constitution vests the power to make laws and appropriate funds with Congress. Allowing the Treasury Department to set up an IRS-run Direct File Pilot Program is a clear attempt by the Biden administration to circumvent these constitutional limitations.”
The Constitution gives Congress — not administrative agencies — the power to make laws and appropriate funds. However, Congress has not passed legislation granting the Treasury Department the authority or allocated any additional funds for the program.
While Congress commissioned a study from an “independent third party” to report on “the overall feasibility, approach, schedule, cost, organization, and design” of the system, the IRS chose New American that previously supported an IRS-run direct file system to complete the study.