Daniel Werfel Set to Testify at Senate Finance Committee Hearing on IRS Funding Boost

The Senate Finance Committee is set to question Daniel Werfel, President Joe Biden's pick to lead the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), on Wednesday, as the agency prepares to receive a massive funding boost of $80 billion over 10 years.[0] The investment, passed by Congress with Democrats in control, is intended to support the IRS in cracking down on tax cheats and providing better service to taxpayers.

Werfel, a former acting IRS commissioner, is expected to commit to not increasing tax audits on businesses and households making less than $400,000 per year and to focus enforcement efforts on high-income taxpayers.[1] He is also likely to be asked about the IRS's ability to enforce the new funding, given that the first vote of the new Republican-led House was to claw back 90 percent of the funding.

Prior to his stint at the IRS, Werfel worked for nearly 16 years at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, serving as deputy controller and then federal controller.[2] He is currently a managing director and partner at Boston Consulting Group and co-hosts a podcast called “Gov Actually” about how government works.[2]

For the first two weeks of this year’s filing season, the IRS answered 89% of customer calls with live agents and 93% when counting those answered with automated assistance, a stark contrast to last year when the IRS was able to answer just 13% of calls.[2]

The hearing promises to be a doozy and will be the first big IRS hearing since it received the $80 billion budget boost.[3] Werfel is expected to discuss how he intends to oversee the use of the funds and how the agency plans to use them to boost federal revenue by more than $100 billion over the next decade.

0. “Biden's Pick for IRS Chief to Face Questions About Agency's $80 Billion Expansion” The Wall Street Journal, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.wsj.com/articles/bidens-pick-for-irs-chief-to-face-questions-about-agencys-80-billion-expansion-9f17e507

1. “IRS Nominee Werfel to Prioritize High-Income Audits, Taxpayer Service” Bloomberg Law, 15 Feb. 2023, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/banking-law/irs-nominee-werfel-to-prioritize-high-income-audits-taxpayer-service

2. “Biden's IRS nominee will face Senate questions on $80 billion modernization” WDJT, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.cbs58.com/news/bidens-irs-nominee-will-face-senate-questions-on-80-billion-modernization

3. “IRS nominee: No audit boost for households under $400000” The Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/irs-nominee-no-audit-boost-for-households-under-400000/2023/02/15/e4c7373e-ad19-11ed-b0ba-9f4244c6e5da_story.html