WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Republicans in Congress have introduced bills they say will protect U.S. taxpayers from abuse and keep them informed about how their money is spent.
The action comes as the annual April 15 tax deadline approaches.
Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., is the sponsor of two bills, the Taxpayer Transparency and Efficient Audit Act and the Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act, the Hill reported. The first would require the Internal Revenue Service to inform taxpayers when it shares their information with another government agency and gives the agency a one-year deadline for audits. The second would bar the IRS from asking about political or religious beliefs.
Republicans point to the alleged targeting of Tea Party groups for IRS scrutiny and say the Affordable Care Act may mean sharing of taxpayers' personal information.
"Practically every day there's news of a new scandal at the IRS, and unfortunately it seems the administration is incapable of getting the IRS under control and restoring faith in the agency," Roskam said last year when he first brought up the legislation. "The targeting of individuals by the IRS based on their political and social beliefs cuts to the core of Americans' trust in government, and it's time to institute reforms in order to protect taxpayers from further abuse."
Two other bills, the Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act, offered by Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., and the Taxpayer Transparency Act, introduced by Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo., are aimed at the spending side. The first would require all government agencies to report annually on program costs and the second would mandate they disclose when advertisements are paid for with public funds.