The largest conservative group in the Congress supports the idea of abolishing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is one of the signature campaign promises of Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz.
The Republican Study Committee (RSC) recently proposed the “complete elimination of the IRS.” The RSC comprises of more than two-thirds of House Republicans. It serves as a conservative caucus for them and a leading on the Right since its establishment in 1973.
The RSC said, “This proposal takes the bold step of calling for the complete elimination of the IRS. Tax collection and enforcement activities would be moved to a new, smaller and more accountable department at the Treasury.”
The RSC did not offer further details on how to replace the tax collecting agency, which is already a part of the Treasury Department. Last year, the IRS collected $3.3 trillion in revenue and process 240 million tax returns.
The proposal to abolish the IRS was part of a larger initiative for comprehensive tax reform, according to Caitlin Carrol, the spokesperson for Texas Representative and RSC Chairman Bill Flores.
Proposal to abolish IRS “sounds Trumpish”
The idea of abolishing the IRS appears to be gaining a broader acceptance on the Capitol Hill given the endorsement of the RSC. However, many lawmakers including some Republicans have differing opinions on the issue.
Republican Representative Charles Boustany told Reuters that the calls to abolish the IRS have not been reviewed thoroughly.
He said, “Before we start making blanket statements about abolishing the IRS, I think it’s important to focus on what the tax code for the 21st century should look like.” Boustany is not a member of the RSC.
Democratic Representative Elijah Cumming rejected the idea to abolish the agency. He said, “If there are problems at the IRS, we can straighten it out.” He added that Republicans should be cautious of advocating an idea that “sounds Trumpish.”
An attractive idea in an election year
Steven Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute, commented, “We are in an election year, and bashing the IRS is particularly attractive in an election year.”
Rosenthal added that the IRS is doing a great job from a global perspective. He noted that the income tax compliance in the United States is around 82%, one of the highest levels worldwide.