Biden’s IRS Nominee Faces Tough Questions on Audit Rates

Biden's IRS Nominee Faces Tough Questions on Audit Rates

( – In November, President Joe Biden nominated Danny Werfel to replace outgoing IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. Many members of the administration touted Werfel’s extensive management history as a plus that would benefit the agency. Werfel has previously worked in the federal government under the leadership of former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Nonetheless, he’s faced some tough questions as part of his Senate confirmation.

On Wednesday, February 15, Werfel appeared before the Senate for his confirmation hearing. He faced a panel of Democrats and Republicans — some of whom had raised questions on serious issues the agency is facing.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) brought up the fact that a report published by Stanford’s Institute for Economic Policy Research revealed racial disparities in the tax auditing process. The authors of the paper stated, “Black taxpayers are audited at 2.9 to 4.7 times the rate” of taxpayers of other races, raising concerns about how the IRS chooses whom to audit.

Wyden asked Werfel if he was prepared to “commit within 60 days” of his confirmation to get to the bottom of the issue, according to The Hill. The nominee replied that he would “absolutely … talk to those … working [on] this issue.”

That was just the beginning. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 approved $80 billion in funding for the IRS, and Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) wanted clarification on how the money will be spent. He brought up the fact that 60% of the amount had been allocated to enforcement but remains “completely uncontrolled and undefined.” The senator also asked Werfel to commit to not using the funds against Americans who make under $400,000 per year.

The vote on whether to confirm Werfel to the role of IRS Commissioner will be held in the coming days, after he’s had time to respond to follow-up questions.

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