Skip to content
Sign up to receive our free weekday morning edition, and you'll never miss a scoop.
Danny Werfel

Partisan rift on display with Werfel at W&M today

There are two very different stories you can expect lawmakers to spin this morning about an agency that can’t seem to get itself out of the hot seat: The IRS.

Commissioner Danny Werfel is testifying at the House Ways and Means Committee today after Republicans sought an early visit to press him on a tax reporting decision. But they’ll go broader too, since this is their annual shot at talking all things IRS with the agency’s top official.

If you ask Republicans, the IRS is failing taxpayers on multiple fronts. If you’re on the Democratic side of the dais, the agency is riding high on a multi-billion dollar influx of funding and doing its job better than ever.

This fall’s election results could chart the agency’s future, with a nearly $80 billion chunk of funding for the IRS — which Democrats passed and Republicans are already chipping away at — in the balance.

GOP focus: Republicans are likely to press Werfel on a few fronts:

That nearly $80 billion in IRS funding will be a GOP target, particularly how much of it is for enforcement compared to taxpayer services. A small chunk of the money is for testing an IRS-run online free tax filing system too, and Republicans don’t like that venture either.

Republicans are expected to raise some familiar oversight issues. For one, after the sentencing of a former IRS contractor for disclosing private taxpayer information, IRS leaks are almost certain to be discussed.

The 1099-K issue could also ignite some fireworks. Republicans oppose Democrats’ 2021 change that lowered the tax reporting threshold for online sales and gig work. They’ve objected to the IRS decision to delay the new requirements, arguing it’s an attempt to dodge the implications of Democrats’ new law.

Democratic focus: We expect Democrats to argue every dollar for the IRS has been a good investment — in offering better taxpayer services, heightened enforcement against tax evasion by the wealthy and bringing in more revenue for the government.

Here’s Ways and Means’ top Democrat, Richie Neal (D-Mass.):

Werfel has touted the extra funding for IRS services, tech and enforcement. Werfel isn’t a very controversial figure on the Hill, but today he’ll be appearing as the face of an agency that takes a lot of knocks.

— Laura Weiss

Presented by Apollo

Apollo is helping to fuel the economy and promote resiliency in the financial system by originating investment-grade private credit. Learn how Apollo is helping the great American businesses of today become leaders of tomorrow.

Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.