Legislation Would Abolish the IRS

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By on February 19, 2017 in Agency News with 0 Comments

Image of IRS logo with a red circle around it and a line through it depicting eliminating the agency

In the midst of news popping up about legislation being introduced in the new Congress to do away with various federal agencies, one bill that may have gone largely unnoticed would eliminate the Internal Revenue Service.

The Fair Tax Act (H.R. 25) was introduced last month by Congressman Rob Woodall (R-GA). It would abolish the IRS, mainly on the premise that the agency would no longer be needed after restructuring the nation’s tax system as described in the bill. It would eliminate the income tax and replace it with a national sales tax based on consumption rather than income.

The bill seems to have generally been unreported because it is introduced in each Congress by Woodall, becoming a tradition of sorts. I last wrote about it in 2015 when it was introduced in the last Congress. It has never advanced before and is unlikely to do so this time.

It is of note, however, in light of the fact that a stronger movement is now afoot to do away with some federal agencies.

Bills were recently introduced to do away with the EPA, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Department of Education. The Trump administration has reportedly expressed an interest in cutting the EPA’s workforce by as much as 50%. Rick Perry, the nominee to lead the Department of Energy, has said in the past the agency should be abolished, although he recanted on that during confirmation hearings.

So while Woodall’s legislation to eliminate the IRS has gone nowhere in the past, it is being reintroduced in a Congress that seems more amenable to the notion of making, at the very least, major changes to some federal agencies.

Eliminating an entire agency, however, is no small task. It cannot be done by a president alone (i.e. via executive order) because it requires an act of Congress (literally), a first step of which these bills are attempting to take. It then requires support from a majority of both chambers and, of course, the president.

When Woodall last introduced the Fair Tax Act in 2015, it began with 57 co-sponsors and went up to 75. This time around, however, it only has 36 (as of the time of this writing).

Woodall’s bill also has companion legislation being sponsored in the Senate. The Fair Tax Act (S. 18) was introduced by Jerry Moran (R-KS).

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.

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