Editorials

Holding’s IRS proposal unnecessary bluster

This April 13, 2014, photo shows the Internal Revenue Service headquarters in Washington.
This April 13, 2014, photo shows the Internal Revenue Service headquarters in Washington. AP

It can’t be said that U.S. Rep. George Holding of Raleigh is offering up a legislative solution in search of a problem regarding the Internal Revenue Service. First, what he wants is no solution to anything. Second, the IRS doesn’t need reorganization and persecution from Congress – though it’s obviously an easy target. Rather, the agency needs help.

The IRS is understaffed and woefully so. That’s the work of congressional Republicans, who remain suspicious that the IRS targeted conservative nonprofits for investigation some time back.

But Holding’s idea, to move the IRS’ criminal investigation units to the Department of the Treasury, which would create an organization called the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, is just unnecessary. (And, hey, isn’t Holding one of those small-government Republicans? So what’s this new agency business?)

The IRS has conducted some fruitful investigations, including an array of cases in North Carolina of tax crime accusations, contract fraud, bank loan schemes. Its investigative arm, in other words, seems to have worked well, despite the alarm Holding is trying to ring over it.

What the IRS needs is more personnel across the board. It’s true that the agency has had problems with customer service in responding to people, but that isn’t for a lack of trying. It’s because Republicans have almost gleefully starved the IRS budget. That means, by the way, that tax cheats don’t get caught – and thus the honest taxpayers are denied the fairness in the system they deserve.

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