FIRST ON FOX: A new Republican bill hitting the floors of Congress would stop the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from snooping in Americans’ online transactions over $600.
California Rep. Michelle Steel and Tennessee Senator Bill Hagerty, both Republicans, introduced the Stop the Nosy Obsession with Online Payments (SNOOP) Act to their respective chambers on Tuesday, looking to nix the IRS’s new requirement for Americans to report online transactions over $600.
“We will not allow the Biden Administration to weaponize government to target hardworking American taxpayers,” Steel said.
“I am proud to re-introduce the SNOOP Act with Senator Hagerty to ensure the heavy hand of government bureaucracy stays off the necks of families as they go about their daily lives, selling a piece of furniture or making a few extra dollars babysitting to make ends meet,” the California congresswoman continued.
“I urge my colleagues to join me in defending the privacy of all Americans and ending the IRS’s egregious overreach,” she added.
Hagerty told Fox News Digital that the “Biden Administration has proven relentless in its attempt to invade the privacy of Americans’ lives and finances.”
“It is regrettable that this Administration still insists on advancing their perilous and oppressive political agenda to the detriment of taxpayers’ privacy, heedless of the IRS’s failed track record of protecting Americans’ confidential data and the deep concern of the American people that they serve,” Haggerty said.
“Though Republican efforts to repeal these new requirements were ignored for two years, the Biden Administration took a politically-timed short-term step to save themselves from the consequences of their own actions, but merely delaying this intrusive provision is not enough; It is past time we stand up for our small business owners and put an end to this egregious and unwarranted overreach for good,” the Tennessee senator continued.
The Republicans’ bill would eliminate the portion of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act that requires gig workers and other small businesses to provide 1099-K reports for transactions over $600 on platforms like PayPal and Venmo to the IRS.
Instead, under the GOP bill, reporting would return reporting requirements to the pre-2021 guidelines of payment platforms providing the information when a payee makes more than 200 transactions a year totaling over $20,000.
The House Ways and Means Committee, which handles taxation and on which Steel sits, will be taking up the bill in the GOP-controlled lower chamber.
The IRS delayed the implementation of its new reporting requirements last month as public outcry grew in response to the new rules.
The agency found itself in hot water earlier this month after a new study of 2022 IRS tax audit data found that a taxpayer in the lowest income bracket is five times more likely to face an audit than would a member of the highest income bracket.
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University examines internal IRS management reports each month, and the group noticed different trends by reviewing 2022 data. Most notably, the group looked at audits, particularly considering the agency relying more heavily on automatically produced letters sent to taxpayers.
The data showed that the IRS conducted 85% of its audits through these letters, which request additional information and documentation related to specific items of interest. Overall audits dropped from 659,003 in FY 2021 to 626,204 in FY 2022 out of 164 million income tax returns filed last year.
The rate of income tax audits for those in the lowest income bracket hit 12.7 per 1,000, compared to 2.3 per 1,000 among those in the highest – a nearly five-fold increase. The odds of a millionaire facing an audit were around 1.1%.
The TRAC report claimed that the lack of attention toward millionaires resulted from “severe budget cutbacks over the years” that forced the IRS to shift its focus to “easy marks in an era when IRS increasingly relies upon correspondence audits yet doesn’t have the resources to assist taxpayers or answer their questions.”
Fox News Digital’s Peter Aitken contributed reporting.