As taxpayers rush to complete their returns for the April 18 Tax Day deadline, Sen. Ted Cruz has rekindled one of his long-held dreams: no more Internal Revenue Service.
The Texas Republican took to Twitter on Monday to propose cutting the main federal tax collection agency. Cruz’s tweet isn’t the first time he or other Republicans have floated the idea. Nor was he the only member of his party to use Tax Day to say it was time to end the agency and the enduring Republican target.
“Abolish the taxman” wrote Cruz in a terse tweet that used the hashtag #TaxDay and offered no further details on how his idea would materialize.
On Tax Day 2014, the conservative Republican tweeted a link to an extract of the The Simpsons in which Homer boos the IRS headquarters. The tweet included the hashtag #AbolishTheIRS.
A year later, Cruz gained attention on social media after criticizing the IRS during a Republican presidential debate. “Washington is fundamentally corrupt,” Cruz said. “There are more words in the IRS code than there are in the Bible. And none of them are as good.”
Because it has positioned itself as an anti-tax party, the GOP’s approach to the IRS has ranged from suspicion to outright contempt. Congressional Republicans in 2014 won $350 million in IRS cuts as part of a budget deal.
Calls to get rid of the IRS altogether quickly became more common. In 2015, the Republican Party website included a petition on its website asking Americans to “stand with the GOP and fight to abolish the IRS,” according to WNYC.
A year later, the Republican Review Committee, which included more than two-thirds of House Republicans, demanded “the complete elimination of the IRS.” After taking office in 2017, Republican President Donald Trump renewed attacks on the IRS.
But a 2019 study found that shrinking IRS resources made it less efficient, and the Treasury could have seen $34.3 billion more in big business taxes if it had $13.7 billion. funding dollars. Other research from Syracuse University found that the underfunded IRS is more likely to audit low-income taxpayers than their wealthier counterparts who file more complex returns.
Vernon Jones, a Trump-endorsed Republican candidate for Congress in Georgia, also took aim at the IRS in a Tax Day tweet. “I don’t just run with lower taxes,” he tweeted. “I’m running to abolish all the damn tax.”
Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia went further in her criticism of the tax structure, linking it to COVID-19 mandates.
“On #TaxDay, I would like to remind everyone how miserable the oppressive tyrannical shutdowns and forced vaccines have been and how much pain #covid has caused everyone, including Democratic voters,” Greene said in a tweet. “Democrats love covid so much they want you taxpayers to pay to VACCIATE THE WORLD!”
Democrats have come up with different messages for Tax Day.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, wrote on Twitter“If you want to stop Republicans from cutting Social Security, gutting Medicare and Medicaid, rolling back the Affordable Care Act, and raising taxes on more than half of the American people, vote Democrat. “
‘Billionaires got $2 trillion richer during pandemic,’ Minnesota rep says Ilhan Omar tweeted. “Tax the rich.”
Newsweek contacted Senator Cruz for comment.