Lawmakers Worried Treasury Department Will Use New Tax Tables for Political Gain

Two lawmakers are worried that the Treasury Department will “unduly influence” tax withholding tables to skew the apparent benefits of the new tax law.

Two lawmakers sent a letter to the acting Internal Revenue Service commissioner yesterday expressing concern about the timeline of when the new tax tables will be released.

As a result of the tax bill recently signed into law, new tax tables will be in effect as of the start of 2018. The Treasury Department and IRS are responsible for updating tax regulations to comply with the new laws.

“Given that the IRS does not have an independent, non-political Commissioner, we are concerned that the Department of the Treasury, which oversees the formulation of these tables, may unduly influence the new withholding tables for the 2018 tax year in a manner that will result in millions of taxpayers receiving larger after-tax paychecks this election year but ultimately owing federal income tax when they file in 2019,” wrote Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) in their letter.

The lawmakers went on to say that they oppose underwitholding taxes during the election year, thereby causing some taxpayers to owe taxes in 2019 rather than getting a refund. They also said that the new tax law “threatens to throw the 2018 tax year into disarray as American families struggle to comply with numerous new tax rules and provisions.”

The letter went on to request some information from the IRS, such as the name and title of every Treasury employee who received the draft IRS withholding tables and information about the methods used to calculate tables for both 2017 and 2018 and any differences between them.

Wyden and Neal also said they have asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate whether the new withholding tables provide adequate withholding for taxpayers.

A copy of the letter is included below.

2018-01-08 IRS Witholding Letter

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.