Florida’s Chief Financial Officer vows to protect Floridians from invasive IRS proposal

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer vows to protect Floridians from invasive IRS proposal

Jimmy Patronis called proposed changes to the IRS reporting threshold a “shakedown.”

As tax filing season approaches, the IRS warns of a potential backlog that could see refunds delayed. The National Taxpayer Advocate, an organization within the IRS, released a report to congress in which they warned of processing issues. ​​“The IRS is in crisis and needs to apply resources to its core mission – processing these returns and paying the corresponding refunds,” the report says.

The organization has been cautioning taxpayers since November that their ability to help with delays will be limited. A statement warned “Taxpayers are experiencing more refund delays this year than usual…TAS understands the frustrations and hardships caused by these unprecedented circumstances. Please be patient if you learn your refund claim is not yet processed and understand why TAS cannot accept your case at this time. We continue to work with the IRS to identify ways to address this return inventory backlog.”

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis has been on the offensive against the IRS issuing a statement Oct. 8 addressing reports that U.S. Senate Democrats are proposing to change the Internal Revenue Service’s reporting threshold from $600 to $10,000.

Patronis said that President Joe Biden “supposedly is trying to shake down billionaires and fight fraud, but he wants to go after middle class bank accounts and small businesses?” He continued, “This proposal is the biggest shakedown of the middle class that’s ever been publicly aired as a serious policy idea…Florida’s not going to comply with this absurd government overreach. If our elected leaders in Washington fail us – and this becomes law – Florida is not going to comply and we’re going to court.”

Under the plan, banks – as well as online third-party payment apps such as PayPal, Cash App, and Venmo – would have to report on account holders’ information including deposits and withdrawals as well as transactions of $600 or more. Patronis argues that this will encourage black market activity and constitutes an unnecessary invasion of privacy. “At the end of the day, I don’t think having Uncle Sam sitting in my bedroom, finding out what I’ve purchased over the last thirty days is any of their business,” he said.

Florida bankers agree. “It’s just wrong,” said Florida Bankers Association President Alex Sanchez. “It’s an incredible invasion of privacy by the Biden Administration, by the Internal Revenue Service.”

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio released a video statement to bankers about what he calls an “unprecedented authority and access to financial transactions.” In it, he said “not only does this have dramatic implications for your work, but it risks the protection and the privacy of hardworking Americans that have entrusted (sic) their local banks for years.”

Patronis is actively looking for ways to protect Floridians from the proposal. In an OpEd, he wrote that he has asked Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation to bring this issue before the Governor, Cabinet, and the state’s banking community. He vowed that the OFR will  “coordinate with my office in developing preemptive actions Florida could take to protect Floridians from the IRS.”  To this end, he has also directed the state’s Department of Financial Services to find a way to exempt Floridians from the plan should it become law.  

The proposal has a long way to go before becoming a law, and it looks like states like Florida will be fighting every step of the way. 

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