Republicans Hold IRS Accountable

Internal Revenue Service

( – Explain why you destroyed 30 million paper-filed tax documents: that’s the message from Republican lawmakers after it was revealed the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had destroyed paper-filed documents.

In a letter sent this week and first reported by Fox Business, James Comer (R-Ky.), a Ranking Member of the House Committee Oversight and Reform, and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) Ranking Member of the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee questioned IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig about the disposal of the documents.

In the letter, Mace and Comer express being “troubled” by the findings uncovered by a recent audit of the agency by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). They also revealed they were examining “allegations of potential misconducted” connected to the destruction of paper documents.

Last month TIGTA released a report detailing it had been triggered to act following the “IRS’s continued inability to process backlogs of paper-filed tax returns.” This, TIGTA said, “contributed to management’s decision to destroy an estimated 30 million paper-filed information return documents in March 2021.”

The destroyed documents include W-2, 1099, and 1098 forms, which the IRS uses to verify a taxpayer’s information.

But in defense of their actions, the IRS insisted that “there were no negative taxpayer consequences” because of what they did, putting the minds of taxpayers at ease, stating that the destruction of the documents would not result in penalties.

Mace and Comer, however, are hesitant to believe the IRS’s rebuttal, emphasizing that the TIGTA report declares that by destroying the returns, “the IRS will likely be missing many of the documents it requires to adequately screen for accuracy of returns, and may also end up lacking sufficient materials for tax audits.”