Republican lawmakers will punctuate their acrimonious relationship with the IRS by advancing a series of bills this week aimed at holding the embattled agency accountable.
Likely passage of the bills in committee will tee them up for consideration on the floor next week, when the nation's taxes are due.
The Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday will vote on four measures that aim to rein in agency behavior Republicans have criticized, including a policy of handing out bonuses to high-ranking IRS officials.
The panel meets Wednesday to vote on the IRS Bonuses Tied to Measurable Metrics Act, sponsored by Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., who has been an outspoken critic of the IRS. That bill would prohibit the IRS from handing out employee bonuses until the Treasury Secretary "develops and implements a comprehensive customer service strategy that puts hardworking taxpayers first."
The IRS has cut back on telephone customer service and enforcement, citing budget restraints imposed by Congress.
The tax writing panel will also consider a bill sponsored by Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., that prohibits the IRS from rehiring people who were fired for misconduct. A Treasury Department inspector general's report found the agency had rehired hundreds of IRS employees with "prior substantiated conduct or performance issues."
A third bill, sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., gives Congress control over how the IRS spends user fees, which make up a significant part of the agency's budget.
Currently the IRS decides how to spend user fees, which have increased by about 34 percent over the past five years, to $391 million. The IRS has chosen to use the fees to fill in a gap in spending caused by the GOP-led Congress reducing funding.
Smith's bill would require the IRS to deposit user fees into a general fund "that will be used for improving taxpayer services."
The Ways and Means panel will also take up a bill that would block the IRS from hiring anyone until it has no employees who are seriously delinquent on their own taxes. The No Hires for the Delinquent IRS Act is sponsored by Rep. David Rouzer, R-N.C.
The bill follows a report by the Treasury's inspector general, which found that nearly 1,600 IRS employees between 2004 and 2013 had evaded paying taxes.