Rep. Harshbarger Sets Sights on IRS

KINGSPORT — U.S. Rep. Diana Harshbarger, R-Kingsport, has introduced the Simplify, Don’t Amplify, the IRS Act, which she said would enact reforms to bring more transparency and accountability to the Internal Revenue Service.

“Fighting for the American taxpayer is one of my top priorities in Congress,” Harshbarger said in a statement. “I was proud to support the passage of the very first bill introduced in the 118th Congress, which repealed the Biden administration’s efforts to supersize the IRS.”

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, as well as the Committees on Financial Services and Oversight and Accountability. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, has introduced a companion bill in the U.S. Senate.

The bill comes on the heels of the Inflation Reduction Act that Democrats passed last year to hire 87,000 new IRS workers. In January, the Republican-controlled House approved a bill to rescind the act after taking control of the House in the November elections.

IRS officials have said the new money would help improve customer service and support. Republicans, however, have lamented an increase of auditors, who they say will harass taxpayers and target all taxpayers.

Harshbarger’s bill would add “taxpayer safeguards and protections,” according to a press release.

Highlights of the bill include:

  • Codifying a Trump administration rule that protects groups regardless of political affiliation or beliefs and prohibits the IRS from publicizing donor information.
  • Increasing the penalty for releasing private taxpayer information and making it easier to terminate employees who do so.
  • Prohibit the IRS from launching targeted audits.
  • Prohibit IRS employees from engaging in taxpayer-funded union time during tax-filing season.

“At a time when Biden’s federal agencies are being weaponized, it’s critical that Congress leads on this issue and protects the American taxpayer from one of the most dreaded three-letter agencies,” Harshbarger said.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at