Kemp and others call IRS surveillance plan a “privacy breach”

(The Center Square) – Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia business and banking community are opposing a federal proposal that would allow the IRS to monitor bank accounts over $ 600.

The plan is part of the Democrats’ $ 3.5 trillion spending bill currently before Congress. Kemp and officials from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Bankers Association said it violated the privacy of most Georgians.

“This ridiculous takeover by the Biden administration is just their latest attempt to harm businesses and undermine the constitutional rights of hard-working Georgians,” Kemp said in a statement. “There is absolutely no reason for the federal government to have the capacity to monitor almost every current account in the country. This is a reckless invasion of privacy and a blow to community banks, small businesses and large banking institutions. “

The measure requires banks to create a system to track and report account balances with $ 600 entering or leaving them to the IRS. Banks would not release details of individual transactions, such as how the money was spent.

Kemp and business leaders said they also oppose the proposal because it will make banking information more susceptible to data breaches and fraud and increase the regulatory burden and costs for banks and co-ops. credit.

The IRS has been a constant target for hackers and crooks. In 2015, cybercriminals gained access to the old tax returns of over 100,000 people through the IRS website. IRS officials also reported a data breach affecting more than 700,000 people in 2016.

U.S. Treasury Department officials said the proposal would help the IRS track underreported income, but Georgian officials said the proposal could do more harm than good.

“This flawed proposition violates the privacy of nearly all Americans in the name of capturing wealthy tax evaders,” said Joe Brannen, president and CEO of the Georgia Bankers Association. “Consumers, small business owners and families should rightly fear that their personal financial information will be passed to the IRS without any guarantee that their data will be protected from cybercriminals or limited to that single idea. This expensive and intrusive proposition is loaded with harmful potential. “

By Nyamekye Daniel | The central square

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