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Rep. Lewis’ Good Government Tax Bill Moves to the Floor

July 24, 2007
Press Release

Stands up for taxpayers by repealing troublesome private debt collection program

            Yesterday the House Ways and Means Committee passed H.R. 3056, the Tax Collection Responsibility Act of 2007, to repeal the use of private debt collection companies to collect Federal income taxes, delay the application of an onerous three percent withholding requirement on businesses, and discourage individuals who renounce their U.S. citizenship to avoid paying taxes.

             As Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee of Ways and Means, Congressman Lewis called a hearing last month to explore citizen complaints of harassment by private debt collection firms.  Though there has been a push within the current administration to turn over many of the traditional functions of government to private businesses, Rep. Lewis believes this can be a disservice to citizens.  Sometimes these services charge exorbitant rates to the government, and their profit motivation can work at odds with the public service mission of the government.

             At the hearing, the Internal Revenue Service, including its current commissioner, testified that it could manage those privatized functions at a lower cost to the taxpayer.  The findings of the hearing led Rep. Lewis to work to create the Tax Collection Responsibility Act, and it was approved by a vote of 23 to 18 by the full Committee.

             “The private debt collection program is an insult to the American taxpayer and our Federal tax system,” said Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John Lewis (D-GA).  “The collection of taxes is a core government function.  It is the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) mission.  We found that, in addition to taxpayer harassment, this program wastes tax dollars by paying a bounty up to 24 percent to the debt collectors.  We were told by the IRS Commissioner that IRS employees could do the job more efficiently for less money.  Enough is enough, we must stand up for taxpayers and we must stand up for IRS employees by ending this program.”