Abolish the IRS? First 2016 Presidential Contender Says ‘Yes’

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Would you vote for a presidential candidate who pledged to do away with the Internal Revenue Service? It might be an option next year.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, possible Republican presidential contender U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and the Republican National Committee all have taken up the cause of abolishing the federal tax-collecting agency, The Associated Press reported today:

“Imagine abolishing the IRS,” Cruz told college students during his campaign launch Monday. Compared with America’s history of fighting communism, wars and economic calamities, he said, “abolishing the IRS ain’t all that tough.”…

Cruz advisers said the senator would be releasing more details on his proposal, which would allow most Americans to file their taxes on the back of a postcard-size form.

While the IRS, which is part of the U.S. Treasury, has come under scrutiny in recent years, some people argue that abolishing it is easier said than done.

“If you’re going to have federal taxes, you need an agency to collect them,” Chris Edwards, a former senior economist with Congress’ Joint Economic Committee who leads the libertarian Cato Institute’s tax policy studies, told the AP.

The IRS collects more than $2.4 trillion every year. The agency, which has roughly 90,000 employees, is also responsible for enforcing federal tax laws.

Meanwhile, the IRS continues to make other headlines. CNN Money reports that the IRS, which is the only agency that can fire an employee for not paying taxes, is owed $3.5 billion in back taxes from federal employees and retirees:

The House Oversight Committee will consider a bill Wednesday that would penalize federal workers for not paying on time. If approved, federal workers with ‘seriously delinquent tax debts’ could be fired or prohibited from being hired.

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