First Financial Bank speaking out against new proposed IRS legislation

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – In May, the Department of the Treasury released the “General Explanations of the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2022 Revenue Proposals.” One proposal titled “Introduce comprehensive financial account reporting to improve tax compliance” has drawn ire from house republicans and even local bankers.

“I don’t think we need to be giving our customers’ information for any reason, and that goes along with the privacy that we promise them as bankers,” says President and CEO of Abilene-based First Financial Bank, Scott Dueser.

The proposal is aimed at closing the tax gap, a $166 billion annual discrepancy in taxes owed and what’s collected. Initially, it was to require that banks automatically report the inflows and outflows of funds in accounts totaling $600 or more, but that amount has now been changed to transactions of $10,000 or more.

“I can understand that they want to see what people are doing and stop evasion of taxes,” Dueser says.

Chuck Marr, Senior Director of Federal Tax Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, says that the low threshold would make it easier to find those who falsely report low income.

“It just helps the IRS get better at finding noncompliance, finding people who are cheating,” Marr said to Politico in September.

Currently this kind of account reporting would require an IRS audit, which they would need cause to call for. Dueser argues that if this proposal passes, it would open the flood gates of information.

“This gives no reason to do it and everybody has to give it up,” said Dueser.

Following push back from House republicans, the proposal was modified just this week, raising the transaction threshold from $600 to $10,000 and excluding school teachers and firefighters.

“But whether it’s 6 or 10, it’s still overreaching, and the American public does not need to stand for this,” says Dueser

Dueser is just one of many Texas bankers who are calling for their clients to get informed and get a message out to their representative. The Texas Bankers Association is leading the charge in the Lone Star State.

“So we’re trying to get everyone to call, write email, text your congressman and senators to stop this legislation,” said Dueser.

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