House Ties IRS Bonuses to Performance


By Brian Kohut

In a move designed to push the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to develop a more robust plan in providing taxpayers with a higher level of service, on April 21, 2016, the House of Representatives passed the Bonuses Tied to Measurable Metrics Act (The Act).  The Act prevents the IRS from paying employee bonuses until the Secretary of the Treasury, Jack Lew, implements a customer service plan of action.  The Act seeks to hold the IRS accountable for prioritizing taxpayer satisfaction before paying out any bonuses.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA), is part of several measures passed by the House that seek to regulate the IRS’s employment practices.  These other measures include prohibiting the IRS from rehiring former employees fired for misconduct and hiring employees with outstanding tax debt.

Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) opposes the legislation, pointing out that the drop in IRS service is due to Congress cutting the IRS’s funding in recent years.  Levin said that the problem is one of resources, not strategy.  In a Statement of Administration Policy, the White House has called the measure unnecessary, as the IRS already has a strategy for improvement in place.  The statement also mentioned the lack of IRS funding in recent years as well as a survey showing that taxpayer service has increased this year.

The bill now makes its way to the Senate, but it is dubious as to whether it will become law.  President Obama has signaled in the past that he would veto bills that will reduce the IRS’s budget.

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