Sometimes it feels like the government does this best. Failed policies are often recycled – often many times – in some sort of desperate attempt to make them work. Or to spend taxpayer dollars to promote self-serving agendas. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the two apart.
The latest attempt to recycle failed policies is the outsourcing of tax debts to private collectors, an item which has re-appeared as part of the Highway Trust Fund Bill. Yes, you read that right. And no, the two really have nothing to do with each other.
But this is, as you know, something that Congress loves to do (Remember those credit card reporting requirements that found their way into the Housing and Economic Recovery Act? Or last year’s Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 that changed tax return due dates?).
So, as Congress moves to slap another band-aid on the wounded Highway Trust Fund (we technically ran out of highway money on October 29), they decided to toss in a handful of other provisions in an effort to sneak them by taxpayers make it look like they were getting something done move things forward.
One of the provisions buried inside the Highway Trust Fund is a requirement that IRS use private collectors to collect existing tax debts. Brilliant, right? Only not so much. It’s been tried and failed before (more on that in a bit) so it’s perplexing that Congress would re-introduce the policy except for well, politics.
The House is not a big fan of the Internal Revenue Service right now – a cynic might view this as a move to systemically take down the IRS.