Letter Text (PDF)

Washington (March 16, 2023) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) joined 18 senators in a letter, led by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Angus King (I-Maine), to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Daniel Werfel and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, expressing strong support for Secretary Yellen’s directive for the IRS not raise audit rates for small businesses or households making under $400,000 annually and that new enforcement funds provided in the Inflation Reduction Act will focus on reducing tax avoidance by large corporations and the mega-rich. 

Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) signed the letter. 

“We… understand that the Administration is still working on the operational plan regarding implementation of the new funding and Secretary Yellen’s directive. We ask that this plan, when finalized, continue to reflect and elaborate on your stated focus on protecting taxpayer rights and increasing enforcement for high-income individuals and large corporations,” wrote the senators. 

In response to increased funding for the IRS in the Inflation Reduction Act, Secretary Yellen directed former IRS commissioner Rettig, “that any additional resources—including any new personnel or auditors that are hired—shall not be used to increase the share of small business or households below the $400,000 threshold that are audited relative to historical levels. This means that, contrary to the misinformation from opponents of this legislation, small businesses or households earning $400,000 per year or less will not see an increase in the chances that they are audited. Instead, enforcement resources will focus on high-end noncompliance.” 

The senators expressed support for this clarity and asked the IRS to elaborate on its focus on protecting taxpayer rights and increasing enforcement for high-income individuals and large corporations. They urged the IRS to use the new funding to support tax fairness and close the tax gap caused by tax avoidance from the ultra-wealthy and large corporations, protect the rights of lower-income taxpayers, and swiftly improve taxpayer customer service and information technology.