It's unlikely IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was trying to endorse U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for president, but he certainly likes the GOP candidate's tax plan.
During a hearing Wednesday before the House Small Business Committee, he urged lawmakers not to cut his agency's funding below what President Obama has suggested in his budget proposal. He also noted that implementing a flat tax would be simpler than the current tax system and would save the agency a lot of money.
"The IRS' funding was cut significantly for the five years from 2011 to 2015, and those reductions have taken a toll on both taxpayer service and enforcement programs," Koskinen said. "I continue to urge Congress to approve the president's fiscal year 2017 budget for the IRS, which requests a base increase of $530 million over the fiscal year 2016 enacted level."
Asked by U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) if a flat tax would benefit his agency, the commissioner said:
"I don't think I have a number for you but clearly if you had a two-page form or a one-page form where you got rid of all the deductions and everything else and people just paid in effect either a flat tax or a graduated flat tax it would be simpler for taxpayers and it would be much simpler for us. We would have still, somebody has to make sure that the numbers are right and we have to follow up with people, we have to answer questions, but there'd be far fewer questions."
Some have suggested this indicates Cruz won't be able to follow through on his campaign pledge to eliminate the IRS. However, Koskinen called the flat-tax proposal a "sea change" that would significantly alter the way the IRS operates, a sign those duties could be handled by another, smaller, agency.
That all got lost, however, over headlines about his admissions to a Senate committee the day before that taxpayers' information isn't secure, and the IRS has been encouraging illegals to steal Americans' Social Security information.
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