Louisiana's Jeff Landry among 20 attorneys general opposing IRS plan

Staff Report
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry speaks during an unrelated press conference at the Plaquemine Fire Department earlier this month. Also shown are Plaquemine Fire Chief Darren Ramirez, Plaquemine Chief of Police Kenny Payne, Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi, and Plaquemine Mayor Edwin M. “Ed” Reeves Jr.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry joined 19 state attorneys general in calling for an end to a proposal that would give the Internal Revenue Service access to every bank account with a balance of at least $600

The proposal stipulates that if an account balance is above $600 at any given time, the financial institution will be required to track transactions and report them to the IRS using an enhanced annual IRS Form 1099-INT.

Joining Landry in signing the letter were the attorneys general of Georgia, Idaho, Utah, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.

Both Sen. John Kennedy and Sen. Bill Cassidy have voiced their opposition to the change.

"Year after year the IRS collects record taxes," Kennedy previously stated. "Unfortunately, Washington also spends a record amount year after year and always more than it collects in taxes. Simply put, we have a spending problem, not a taxation problem."

Cassidy posted on his verified Facebook page that the IRS "does not have the right to spy on Americans' bank accounts."

“Joe Biden’s federal government combing through almost every American’s bank account without cause - or even suspicion - is unacceptable, illegal, and contrary to the well-founded constitutional principles against illegal searches and seizures,” Landry said in a news release. “I will do all that I can to fight this reckless authoritarianism and protect the people of Louisiana, their property, and their privacy.”

Proponents of the proposal argue the information would help the IRS flag under-reported income and target tax evasion.

The IRS estimates a tax gap of $166 billion a year between the tax owed by businesses (not counting large corporations) and the tax actually paid. 

In the letter to President Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the attorneys general argue the policy is at best overly burdensome and at worst illegal.

The attorneys general argue the proposal seeks to leverage private transaction information by effectively transforming banks into large-scale data processors for the IRS, forcing the banks to provide private information regarding common transactions such as payments for rent and groceries.