Charles P. Rettig, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, testifies during a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee entitled The IRS Fiscal Year 2022 Budget, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, June 8, 2021.
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A prominent House Democrat called the president on Friday Joe Biden to replace IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig for the agency’s controversial Destruction of data relating to 30 million paper tax returns.
“The IRS is vital to public confidence in our nation and its Trump-appointed leader has failed,” said New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell, chair of the oversight subcommittee of the mighty House Ways and Means Committee.
“This latest revelation increases public confidence in our unfair two-tier tax system,” Pascrell said.
“That trust cannot recover if all the American people see at the IRS is incompetence and catastrophe,” the Democrat added. “The way we are learning the destruction of unprocessed paperwork is just the latest example of Mr. Rettig’s apathetic attitude.”
The White House and IRS did not immediately return requests for comment on Pascrell’s statement.
The request for Rettig’s ouster came after The Inspector General of the Treasury Department for Tax Administration released the results of an auditwho have angry tax preparers.
The audit revealed that the IRS has continued “to have a significant backlog of individual and corporate tax returns that remain unprocessed” since the agency reopened tax processing centers in June 2020, months after the Covid-19 pandemic led to their closure.
This inability to process backlogs of paper declarations “contributed to management’s decision to destroy approximately 30 million archived information return documents in paper format in March 2021,” the audit found.
Such documents may include Forms W-2 and other information submitted by employers and financial institutions to the IRS.
Tax preparers told CNBC they fear that shredding of documents could leave the IRS unable to verify details on a taxpayer’s returns, which in turn can lead to delays in refunds.
“I was horrified when I read the report describing the destruction of information filed on paper,” said Phyllis Jo Kubey, president of the New York State Society of Enrolled Agents.
The IRS said Thursday, “There were no negative consequences for taxpayers as a result of this action.”
“Taxpayers or taxpayers have not been and will not be subject to penalties resulting from this action,” the agency said.
This claim was not good enough for Pascrell, who said Ways and Means Committee members and other members of Congress “have shown immense patience with the IRS.”
“The career of the IRS staff has worked admirably while they were under immense pressure, strained resources and near-impossible circumstances during this pandemic,” Pascrell said. “The Republican sabotage of this agency over the past decade has exacerbated these challenges. In our hearings, I have shown reiterated deference to work to reform the IRS, but that’s enough.”
He continued later in the statement: “This latest revelation adds to the public’s plummeting confidence in our unfair two-tier tax system. That confidence cannot bounce back if all the American people see at the IRS is incompetence and catastrophe.” .
“Mr. Rettig has had a lot of time and a lot of cooperation to begin the crucial IRS remediation work. There must be real responsibility. President Biden must immediately replace Mr. Rettig and also appoint a chief adviser to the IRS. “.
– CNBC’s Kate Dore contributed to this report