Resignation of IRS Commissioner will do Little to Restore Integrity, Fix Problems

(Alexandria, VA) -- In response to the resignation of IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, National Taxpayers Union Executive Vice President Pete Sepp offered the following statement:

"The pundits are saying the IRS scandal has claimed its first casualty with the resignation of Commissioner Miller; in reality, the casualty list was quite extensive well before his departure.

"The victims include: would-be participants in the democratic process who were targeted with outrageous paperwork burdens, conscientious IRS employees whose time could have been spent more productively serving citizens instead of doing their superiors’ bidding, and, of course, millions of taxpayers whose fear and suspicion of the IRS were considerable in the first place.

"Other things have suffered too, including a decade and a half of progress that reformers inside and outside government have made in restructuring the IRS’s personnel and customer service operations. Also damaged is the agency’s credibility and capability to implement the 2010 health care law. On top of all that, the truth has once again taken a beating from Washington’s scandal-driven defense of deny, minimize, and spin.

"Whether the cycle can truly be broken this time depends on what the White House and Congress do next. One first step would be to enact Senator Flake’s bill, the Protect Against Ideology-Based Targeting Act, to prohibit the IRS from using methodologies that discriminate against organizations based on ideology when they apply for non-profit status. Another is to pass Senator John Cornyn’s Small Business Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act, which would address many longstanding issues with IRS treatment of small businesses in tax disputes. In the end, however, Congress and the President must reevaluate the functionality of the entire tax system. Although the current mess is related to nonprofit tax status, future IRS nightmares will likely crop up in other areas of the law unless policymakers take a more comprehensive approach.

"Taxpayers aren’t looking for retribution; they’re looking for reform."