GOP lawmaker wants to look at increased IRS authority

Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) told reporters Wednesday that lawmakers should look into giving the IRS broader math-error authority. 

Currently, IRS agents can check returns for arithmetic errors, wrongly entered Social Security numbers and a narrow number of other reasons. 

Government officials said at a House hearing Wednesday said expanding the IRS’s authority could help decrease improper refundable tax-credit payments by giving the agency more ability to act before disbursements are made.  

Boustany — who chairs the House Ways and Means subcommittee for Oversight, which hosted the hearing — said he had discussed broadening math-error authority with Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the panel’s ranking member. 

The Government Accountability Office — whose Michael Brostek was among those calling for increased math authority for the IRS on Wednesday — released a report that same day that said the agency sent out roughly 8.4 million notices last year, for a total of 10.6 million math errors made on 2009 tax returns.