News Releases

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Isakson Reintroduces Legislation to Hold IRS Accountable

Mirrors VA accountability law to end bureaucratic protections for failing, rogue employees

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today reintroduced legislation that would help hold the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) accountable to the American people by giving the IRS commissioner the ability to fire senior-level employees who are failing in their performance or who commit serious misconduct.

The Internal Revenue Service Accountability Act of 2018, S.3199, mirrors legislation championed by Isakson and enacted into law in 2014 that allows the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to fire senior executives for misconduct. Currently, long and burdensome disciplinary procedures have ultimately prevented federal agencies such as the VA or IRS from firing bad employees, including those who unfairly target or harass taxpayers.

“The best thing we can do across our federal government is root out the abusive or corrosive behavior of bureaucrats who know how to game the system. Congress is taking on obstructionist bureaucracy and addressing the problems we’ve seen at the IRS,” said Isakson, a member of the Senate Committee on Finance, which oversees the IRS. “I’m in favor of any steps we can take to reduce waste, fraud and abuse and hold bad government employees accountable for their misdeeds. This commonsense measure will begin to fix a problem that should never have been allowed.”

The IRS Accountability Act of 2018 clarifies that the IRS commissioner has the power to fire senior executives who have failed in their performance or committed serious misconduct. It is based on a law Congress passed in 2014 with broad bipartisan support that gave the secretary of Veterans Affairs the authority to fire government senior executives for misconduct.

The provision applies to the highest-ranking IRS employees and allows the commissioner to terminate employees for misconduct that has already been deemed a severe offense under the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. Such offenses include threatening to audit someone for personal gain, conducting a seizure without approval, assaulting, harassing or violating the civil rights of a taxpayer or a coworker, lying under oath, falsifying or destroying records, concealing information from Congress, underreporting income, and failing to file a tax return on time.

The legislation was introduced today by Isakson and Senators Richard Burr, R-N.C., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Dean Heller, R-Nev., Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Tim Scott, R-S.C.