By Senator Dave Lawson
It’s been over a decade since a Senate seat opened in the First State. With Senator Carper announcing his retirement, there is a rare opportunity in our state to have a conversation about what kind of leadership Delawareans would like to see in Washington.
In talking to my constituents, I hear consistently that residents in the First State want to choose freely what is right for them and their families. Too often, though, decrees come from Dover or Washington that tell people what kind of cars they’ll have to buy, what their children will learn in schools, and now, how they’ll be forced to file their taxes each year.
This latest overreach comes courtesy of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS was given $15 million in taxpayer money to study whether an IRS-run tax preparation system would be a good idea. In a move that surprised no one, the IRS concluded that giving itself unprecedented new power was a great idea, and now they are building a pilot program that will allow the IRS – the agency charged with maximizing revenue for the federal government – to decide how much you owe the federal government each year.
Never mind the fact that the customer service at the IRS is infamously bad. Never mind that Americans already trust tax professionals, like their neighborhood accountant, more than a faceless bureaucrat. Never mind that – according to their very own survey – most Americans said they would prefer to stick with their current tax prep software. Their reasoning? “I don’t think it’s the IRS’s role to prepare taxes.” Sounds pretty common sense to me.
Senator Carper seems to be a big proponent of this plan that would cost taxpayers billions of dollars, produce accurate tax returns less than half the time, and increase revenue for the IRS by $96 billion each year. He even went so far as to join progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in writing to the IRS encouraging the agency to “prioritize” a government-run tax preparation system just about a month ago.
In my conversations with Delawareans, I don’t hear that they want a new system for paying their taxes. They simply want to pay less in taxes. They want to be assured that their money isn’t being wasted on pet projects or liberal pipedreams.
An IRS-run tax prep system is yet another government mandate that taxpayers don’t need. It will only be a matter of time before the IRS inevitably leaks their sensitive financial information or causes them to lose out on credits or deductions they are owed. Since this state and this country do not have endless resources, we should start being more mindful of what our money is really being used for. And trying to convince taxpayers that they need to spend billions of dollars for the government to tell them how much they owe in taxes each year is egregious.
Those who will eventually run to fill Senator Carper’s seat – Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester or anyone else – should think about what Delawareans actually want and need. I’m confident that a government-run tax preparation system isn’t on that list and that their time would be much better spent fighting for their constituents’ priorities.