(The Center Square) – House Republicans are demanding answers from the IRS on whether millions of taxpayer dollars are being lost to waste and fraud thanks to a new payment plan from the Biden administration.
The Republican leadership of the House of Ways and Means sent a letter to the IRS with questions about child tax credit payments, which began this year. President Joe Biden has championed the plan, which extends the child tax credit and distributes it to families typically in the form of a monthly check or direct deposit.
Republicans, however, point out that tens of billions of dollars have been lost to fraud and waste through IRS programs in recent years. They claim it is happening again with the latter program.
“About 4 million taxpayers who received a CTC direct deposit payment in July received a paper check in August due to a scheduling problem,” the letter said. “This has led to a lot of problems with people not receiving paper checks. The IRS said it fixed a “technical glitch” that prevented “less than 2%” of CTC recipients from receiving their September payment. Although this statement is presented as if it were a small problem, the IRS said about 35 million families have received payments. Two percent of 35 million is equivalent to about 700,000 families. This is no small problem.
The data is changed and configured through an online portal, and critics say the infrastructure has been rushed, making these kinds of issues inevitable.
Biden has been pushing for an extension of the plan in negotiations over reconciliation spending, but it now doesn’t seem clear if that will happen.
“Our offices have received numerous calls regarding these issues and of course the IRS remains unable to provide timely customer service to resolve these issues,” added the letter, which was led by Representative Kevin Brady. , R-Texas, and Mike Kelly, R -Penn.
The monthly child tax credit is not the only federal payment program under consideration. Congress enacted weekly federal unemployment benefits of $ 300 to combat unemployment in the COVID era. These payments expired in September, although there is pressure in Congress to reinstate them.
Watchdogs say much of that money has been lost through waste and abuse.
The Government Accountability Office released a report in July which noted that states and territories overpaid nearly $ 13 billion between March 2020 and April 2021. Some critics say that in addition to these accidental errors, the amount lost to cause of fraud was much higher.
In light of this data, Republicans in the US House and Senate sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office earlier this year calling for an investigation into the level of fraud and how it occurred. They estimate that between $ 89 billion and $ 400 billion has been lost.
“It is concerning that the responsibility for determining the extent of fraud is scattered across a web of bureaucracies,” the letter read. “The scattering of responsibilities suggests that Congress will be ill-equipped to have adequate information to assess future UI responses to major economic shocks; and, at the same time, ensure that they aren’t plagued by gaping security loopholes that give fraudsters an open window to use for illegally obtained taxpayer funds.