The Treasury Department today released a plan to raise an additional $700 billion through new enforcement measures, which could help the Biden administration pay for its multi-trillion spending proposals.
The report describes a series of tax compliance initiatives to close the tax gap – the difference between taxes owed to the government and those actually paid. According to Treasury, the tax gap totaled nearly $600 billion in 2019 and will rise to about $7 trillion over the next decade if not addressed.
“At the crux of these proposals is a commitment to revitalizing tax enforcement,” Treasury writes. “Working to close the tax gap reflects a commitment to ending our two-tiered tax system, one where most American workers pay their full obligations, but high earners who accrue income from opaque sources often do not.”
The first step in Treasury’s plan would require Congress to increase the size of the IRS budget by about $80 billion over the next decade. According to Treasury, the IRS needs funding in place to make investments in modernizing its information technology, improving data analytic approaches, and hiring and training agents dedicated to enforcement activities. Over the past decade, the IRS budget has declined by about 20%, leading to layoffs and a decline in audits.
Treasury also wants to strengthen requirements about what banks tell the IRS about their customers. The IRS would use the additional information to better target enforcement activities and “increase scrutiny of wealthy evaders.” Importantly, Treasury said there would be no added reporting requirements for taxpayers.
The last parts of the plan focus on overhauling the IRS’s outdated technology to help the agency identify tax evasion and meet cybersecurity threats and increase penalties for those who commit tax fraud.