Skip to Content

Press Releases

Neal Opening Statement at Hearing with IRS Commissioner Werfel

(As prepared for delivery)

Welcome back to the Committee on Ways and Means, Commissioner Werfel. As always, it’s truly an honor to have you with us today, in the middle of what’s promising to be another record-breaking filing season.

The dedication of the employees of the Internal Revenue Service is remarkable. I thank them for their commitment to our taxpayers and fair tax administration, and for the swift implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Last filing season was the first impacted by Democrats’ multiyear investment from this historic legislation. While taxpayer service was dramatically improved, it was merely the consequence of a well-laid, well-funded plan. The results were amazing.

In this new era of service for America’s taxpayers, the IRS beat Secretary Yellen’s goal and delivered an 87% level of service. Three million more phone calls were answered, while wait times were cut from 28 minutes to only three. Over 140,000 additional taxpayers were served in person. The 2022 backlog was eliminated, and many new digital tools were introduced to make taxpayers’ experiences even easier.

Soaring beyond our expectations in just one year.

It was just last year that we discussed the future of the IRS’s ability to hold the top 1% and tax cheats accountable, and in a matter of months, over $500 million has been recovered from just 1600 wealthy tax evaders.

Another major victory in taxpayer fairness, and for the IRS.

Yet, the biggest threat to the IRS right now is Republican extremism.  From the government shutdown that looms in just 5 legislative days to my colleagues attempt to gut our investments every chance they’ve gotten. Not only would this end up costing taxpayers money and adding to the deficit, but how can you argue with our success? I find myself wondering out loud about who wins when the IRS is starved for resources, and the only answer is Republicans’ political class.

Under Republican funding cuts, the audit rate on millionaires fell by more than 70% from 2010 to 2019, and the audit rate on large corporations fell by more than 50% during the same period.

Workers and their families pay their fair share, and the American people can count on Democrats to ensure the wealthy and well-connected are paying theirs too.

While the promise of Direct File draws near and I’m optimistic about its prospects, I am disappointed it wasn’t ready for the public in time for this filing season.

Mr. Commissioner, thank you again for being here today, and I look forward to our continued work on behalf of the American people.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

Stay Connected

Back to top