Some unbelievable news came out of Washington, recently, when the Biden Administration proposed that certain banking transactions above $600 be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). When news broke, I along with 23 other state Treasurers throughout the United States issued a letter to Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen opposing the plan.
There is little doubt that this absurdly low threshold, for reporting transactions, would cause a tremendous increase in identity theft. This proposal will create the largest target in the world for cyber-gangs, which will undermine the U.S. Treasury’s stated goal of anti-fraud efforts. If Joe Biden got his way criminals could rejoice as this requirement would serve as an adrenaline shot right into the arm of fraud-factories that work in teams to collect personal banking information and defraud the financial markets.
Let’s be honest: the IRS’s track record on protecting sensitive information is about as bad as it gets.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the IRS could not even protect Jeff Bezos, from having his tax records illegally disseminated. If the feds can’t even protect a billionaire from having his information stolen, what hopes do small banks and mom-and-pop businesses have from having all their information dumped into a criminal environment? One wonders whether the IRS’s filing system consists of a coffee can and a shovel. Let’s also not forget about the IRS’s documented targeting of conservative groups, which they were forced to apologize for.
I’ve been in public office a long time. I’ve met thousands-upon-thousands of constituents and business owners and to the best of my recollection, I can’t recall a single person saying they thought the IRS needs more power. Yet, somehow this idea is about to become a real thing in Washington.
Only career government bureaucrats would think that the best way to fight fraud is to vastly grow the amount of access the federal government has to transactions Americans make. In my opinion, this isn’t about fighting fraud — it’s about shaking down Americans for even more tax money to fund Joe Biden’s spending addiction. As prices are going up throughout the nation, one would hope the Biden Administration would be focused on fighting inflation than raising more tax revenues, but unfortunately, these are the kind of big-government measures that we have come to expect from an administration that only cares about their own power.
To the degree Florida can fight back on this — we need to. That’s why I have asked Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) to brief the Governor and Cabinet on this issue, notify Florida’s banking community of this threat, and coordinate with my office in developing preemptive actions Florida could take to protect Floridians from the IRS.
The IRS needs less power, not more power, and we’re not going to allow them to intrude into our personal lives without a fight.
Jimmy Patronis is Florida’s Chief Financial Officer.