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Hyde-Smith: Even scaled-back Democrat IRS surveillance dragnet deserves a fight

By U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith

Mississippians should not be lulled into complacency with talk of President Biden and his allies in Congress backing off their dangerous tax surveillance plan—the one in which practically every dollar flowing in or out of your bank account would be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

Thousands of Mississippians who contact my office are rightfully alarmed and outraged at the idea of the IRS collecting the details of their personal financial information as part of a scheme to pay for President Biden’s massive plan to expand the federal government.  They see straight through the Democrats’ ruse that this will only target super wealthy tax evaders.

If you log on to Facebook to sell a washing machine, the IRS will know.

If you Venmo your roommate for rent, the IRS will know.

If you buy a new mattress, the IRS will know.

These are not the transactions of mega wealthy tax cheats.  These are the transactions of a college student, a mother, a teacher or a nurse, and they have been making their voices heard.

The blowback on the administration and those writing the legislation—behind closed doors—to enact this reckless tax-and-spend spree has been so intense that they have reportedly conceded to “scale back” the IRS dragnet from the initially proposed $600 to $10,000 in gross deposits and withdrawals for every bank account in the country.

What a relief, right?  Wrong.  Even under this standard, the IRS would still be privy to mountains of personal information from Mississippians from all walks of life.

Even at a $10,000 reporting threshold, a Mississippi family’s data would easily end up flowing to the IRS.  It’s not hard to reach a $10,000 threshold considering basic monthly payments like childcare, or sending your college-aged children money, or even just paying inflated utility bills.  It will be the same for small businesses, farms, organizations, and the millions of self-employed and gig workers earning a living outside a payroll system.

Monitoring most everything flowing in or out of your account is not only an egregious invasion of privacy, it will also be next to impossible to implement effectively.

Now, set aside daunting responsibilities that would be required of a troubled agency like the IRS, which has a hard time fulfilling its mission as the nation’s tax collectors.  This invasive bureaucratic dragnet would mean new burdens and mandates on small town banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions forced to report all these transactions.  Essentially, turning community banks into chapters of the IRS.

This tedious task could very well regulate community banks out of existence and effectively end up costing low-income borrowers more, while simultaneously invading their privacy.  Compliance costs for complex administrative reporting requirements will also raise costs for community banks and small businesses, and it is not hard to see this driving many of them out of business.

Finally, we get to the IRS itself.

Ironically, the same party that wants to defund the police wants to increase the number of IRS enforcement agents.  The President and the Democrats propose spending $80 billion to hire an army of auditors to harass taxpayers and carry out an extraordinary expansion of federal scrutiny of our financial activities.

Do we really want the Internal Revenue Service to have unprecedented access to the personal financial information of every American?  Let’s not forget, this is the same IRS with the very poor customer service record.  The same IRS that leaked the private taxpayer information earlier this year and has failed to hold those responsible for that illegal activity accountable.

The bottom line is that Mississippians must remain vigilant as the Biden administration and their allies continue a closed-door scramble to find ways to pay for their alarming jump toward a socialist federal government that imposes itself into every aspect of our lives.  The idea that Washington Democrats will sanction IRS snooping into the wallets and budgets of nearly every American with a job deserves a fight.

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