The federal government continues to conjure up all manner of justifications for government overreach. When President Joe Biden realized that nearly 80 million Americans remained unvaccinated, he and his team swiftly stepped in enact a vaccine mandate, effectively preventing the majority of Americans from exercising control over matters of personal health. After the state of Texas passed the Heartbeat Law to protect the lives of pre-born Texans, the House of Representatives voted on a piece of legislation to overturn states’ rights to regulate the abortion industry within its own borders. Now, in a supposed effort to combat tax evasion, President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget plan includes a proposal that would require banks to report the balances of individual bank accounts to the IRS each year.
Under the proposal, the IRS would be allowed to surveil personal and business bank accounts where transactions of $600 or more take place. This includes transactions through PayPal, Venmo, and crypto exchanges. The Daily Mail reported that the clampdown on unreported income would generate as much as $460 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Office of Tax Analysis. Thus, the federal government’s desire to generate more income through increased tax compliance serves as the IRS’s convenient justification for snooping into the average American’s bank account.
Individual taxpayers and banks alike remain opposed to increased scrutiny of finances, however. And rightly so. Banks nationwide have notified customers of the pending legislation, encouraging pushback to this latest invasion of privacy. Consumer alerts issued by local banks include such statements like, “We work for our customers and our community, not the IRS,” describing account profiling as “intrusive and indiscriminate.” In a letter to the Senate Finance Committee in May, the American Bankers Association outlined the “costs and complexities” of the proposed legislation and raised concern over matters of privacy and fairness for taxpayers.
State legislators like Representative John Andrews of Maine have additionally referred to the proposal as an unprecedented Federal intrusion into the financial lives of everyday Americans.” He and others have urged lawmakers to push back against the recent abuse of power.