Trading away privacy for a more powerful IRS
The President’s plan to give the IRS more money and greater authority to sniff out tax cheats, chiselers and others the government believes aren’t paying all the tax they owe is getting a new sales pitch.
Mr. Biden isn’t weaponizing the historically politicized IRS. He’s just asking for a couple of very simple things: “all the money that goes into your bank account, and all the money that comes out.”
It sounds like such a small thing. But as Reason’s Eric Boehm writes, it’s very, very big indeed:
It is disingenuous to suggest, as Biden did…that letting the IRS peep at your bank records is about ensuring “that the wealthy can no longer hide what they’re making, and they can finally pay the fair share of what they owe.”
As the details of his proposal make clear, enhanced tax enforcement will mean hoovering up more data from crypto wallets, bank accounts, and third-party payment providers such as PayPal and Venmo. And that comes after Biden already ordered the IRS to give greater scrutiny to transactions in the so-called sharing economy.
And as usually happens, it’s not the so-called “rich” who will get caught in the IRS dragnet. It will be the poor and middle class. And what they, and everyone else, will have to surrender, Boehm says, is their financial privacy.
A small price, some will say, to ensure all pay their government-determined fair-share. It’s worth considering what those same folks will say when Republicans are in the White House, and have that same, privacy-destroying IRS at their control.