Community Bankers Concerned About Infrastructure Bill’s Funding Mechanism

Congress is working to get the 3.5 trillion-dollar infrastructure package paid for and passed on to President Biden’s desk. However, inside the package is a requirement that farmers, ranchers, and the public should pay attention to. Paul Merski is the Executive Vice President of Congressional Relations and Strategy for the Independent Community Bankers of America. Merski is seriously concerned about a proposal that potentially involves the IRS and bank accounts across rural America/

“As the Biden administration is looking to pay for this $3.5 trillion spending package, they’re looking for ways to offset that cost, and one idea, which is a horrible idea, is to have the IRS look into everyone’s bank account transactions, and it would force banks to report on any transaction going into or out of an account of $600 or more. So, basically, every account in America would be monitored by the IRS as the banks are forced to send in your transaction account information into the IRS.”

He talks about how that proposal would help generate money to pay for the spending.

“What that means is, the IRS is assuming everyone is a tax cheat and will start auditing more and more people. As you get that bank account data, it’s going to be very challenging for the IRS to even sort through that or even figure out what’s going on in all these various accounts  – we’re talking checking accounts, savings accounts, business accounts, your loans, any cash transactions, any international transactions – it would be like the IRS trying to find a needle in the haystack. It’s crazy. They pretend that they’re going after wealthy millionaires and billionaires, but our question is, why then do they need everyone’s account transactions sent to the IRS.

Merski says the independent bankers handle a lot of business in rural America, and this will have a huge impact on farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses.

“We’re concerned that customers realize and know that banks are going to be soon forced to report all your financial transactions, even on loans, to the IRS. We feel that customers don’t know what’s going on here in Washington with this proposal, we want to make sure that customers know it’s not the bank sending all this information to the IRS, it’s the IRS and Treasury and the administration demanding that the banks report all these transactions. So, we want to make sure that the typical American small business owner, farmer, or rancher understands what’s going on in Washington and weigh in. If this is something that concerns you as it concerns our community bankers, you should really contact your congressman and your senators.”

The ICBA says this proposal is overkill; “This is a dragnet. This is the IRS looking to profile individuals based on their account transactions. It’s basically a stop-and-frisk of average Americans, and I think it’s going to trigger a lot of false audits and cause a lot of cost and compliance burdens for not only the banks but for average Americans as well.”

He says that only 16 percent of IRS audits end with a taxpayer owing money, which makes this a very expensive proposal in the long run.