House votes to slash IRS tax enforcement budget - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

House votes to slash IRS tax enforcement budget

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • Wine collector set for sentencing on fraud charges

    Wine collector set for sentencing on fraud charges

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:06 AM EDT2014-07-24 10:06:22 GMT
    A California wine collector faces sentencing in New York after he was convicted of making up to $20 million from 2004 to 2012 by selling bogus bottles of wine.
    A California wine collector the government has characterized as a prolific counterfeiter who sold at least $20 million in fake wine faces at least 11 years in prison when he is sentenced Thursday on fraud charges.
  • Slaying of Fla. law professor is a seeming mystery

    Slaying of Fla. law professor is a seeming mystery

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:32 AM EDT2014-07-24 08:32:44 GMT
    Detectives say Florida State University law school professor Daniel Markel was shot in the head - but won't say whether he was shot from the front or back. They say he was gunned down at his home in broad...
    Detectives say Florida State University law school professor Daniel Markel was shot in the head - but won't say whether he was shot from the front or back. They say he was gunned down at his home in broad daylight -...
  • Alaska tourist train halts runs after derailment

    Alaska tourist train halts runs after derailment

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:13 AM EDT2014-07-24 08:13:54 GMT
    A vintage rail company that hauls hundreds of thousands of tourists every year along the route of the historic Klondike Gold Rush has suspended operations while it investigates a derailment that injured nine people.
    A vintage rail company that hauls hundreds of thousands of tourists every year along the route of the historic Klondike Gold Rush has suspended operations while it investigates a derailment that injured nine people.
By ANDREW TAYLOR
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The GOP-controlled House has voted to slash the budget for the Internal Revenue Service's tax enforcement division by $1.2 billion, a 25 percent cut that would mean fewer audits of taxpayers and make it more likely that people who cheat on their taxes will get away with it.

The House approved the cuts by voice vote after little debate Monday night as it took up a $21 billion spending bill that sets the IRS budget.

The cuts reflect GOP outrage over the agency's scrutiny of tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status and frustration over the agency's failure to produce thousands of emails by Lois Lerner, the official formerly in charge of the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status.

"The use of a government agency to harass, target, intimidate and threaten lawful, honest citizens was the worst form of authoritarianism," said Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., author of an amendment to cut the IRS tax enforcement budget by $353 million. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., followed up with an amendment to cut $788 million more. The underlying bill already contained a $72 million cut from last year's $5 billion enforcement budget, bringing the total cut to $1.2 billion.

The Democratic floor leader on the funding bill, Rep. Jose Serrano of New York, opposed the amendments but opted against demanding a roll call vote.

"The answer is not to cut the IRS to bare bones, because our next problem is that the deficit will continue to grow because we won't be able to do the proper collecting of tax dollars in this country," Serrano said.

Budget cuts already are hurting the agency's ability to police tax returns, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has said.

Taxpayers' chances of getting audited are lower than they have been in years. And this year, the IRS will have fewer agents auditing returns than at any time since at least the 1980s.

One's chances of getting audited vary greatly, based on income. The more you make, the more likely you are to get a letter from the IRS.

Only 0.9 percent of people making less than $200,000 were audited last year, according to IRS statistics. That's the lowest rate since the IRS began publishing the statistic in 2006.

By contrast, 10.9 percent of people making $1 million or more were audited. That's the lowest rate since 2010.

The White House had already issued a veto threat on the legislation, saying it shortchanges the IRS, impedes implementation of the new health care law and undercuts the new regulations on Wall Street that passed in 2010.

House debate on the IRS and Treasury Department funding bill was to resume Tuesday. A companion Senate measure has stalled in the Appropriations Committee, hung up in part over a looming amendment by GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky aimed at blocking the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing new regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. McConnell appears likely to prevail in the committee, which is stocked with pro-energy Democrats who are up for re-election.

A fight over those EPA rules extended to the House Appropriations Committee, which approved by a mostly party-line vote a separate measure funding the Interior Department and the EPA on Tuesday. A Democratic bid to preserve the EPA rules failed by a 29-18 vote. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., labeled the measure "an ideological dumping ground of short-sighted environmental policies."

Democrats protested language in the measure that would block the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from enforcing new rules that sharply limit sales of products made with ivory, even if it was legally imported before the 1990 ban for African elephants or the 1975 ban on ivory from Asian elephants. The rules are aimed at cracking down on the flourishing trade in illegal ivory but a wide array of people, including owners of musical instruments, antiques and guns made with ivory, are up in arms because they are in many instances no longer able to trade in such items, stripping them of their value.

Democrats prepared an amendment to protect the new rules, citing ivory's role in financing terrorist organizations but withdrew it after Republicans promised to work to balance the needs of legal ivory users with the desire to fight illegal trade in it.

___

Associated Press writer Stephen Ohlemacher contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • Air Algerie plane disappears from radar

    Air Algerie plane disappears from radar

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:42 AM EDT2014-07-24 10:42:21 GMT
    The official Algerian news agency says an Air Algerie flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers has disappeared from the radar.
    Authorities say a flight operated by Air Algerie carrying 110 passengers and a crew of six has disappeared from the radar on a flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers.
  • Jihadis attack besieged Syrian army base

    Jihadis attack besieged Syrian army base

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:41 AM EDT2014-07-24 10:41:45 GMT
    Activists say fighters from the extremist Islamic State group stormed parts of a besieged army base in northern Syria, setting off clashes that left dozens killed or wounded on both sides.
    Fighters from the extremist Islamic State group stormed parts of a besieged army base in northern Syria on Thursday, setting off clashes that left dozens killed or wounded on both sides, activists said.
  • Italy welcomes Sudanese woman sentenced to death

    Italy welcomes Sudanese woman sentenced to death

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:31 AM EDT2014-07-24 10:31:43 GMT
    A Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death in Sudan for refusing to recant her Christian faith has arrived in Italy along with her family, including an infant born in prison.
    A Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death in Sudan for refusing to recant her Christian faith has arrived in Italy along with her family, including an infant born in prison.