The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion The figures might be different, but the result is the same: More taxes collected

The headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service  in D.C. on May 10.
The headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service in D.C. on May 10. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
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The May 24 editorial “Tempering expectations” expressed guarded support for the Biden plan to collect taxes that are legally owed but not paid, called the “tax gap.” Some skepticism of how much additional tax this plan will recover is understandable, but, unlike past revenue-raising plans with overly optimistic assumptions, the Biden plan is a pragmatic program that calls for increased information reporting, long-term commitment of resources and investment in technology.  

The Treasury Department estimated a gain of $700 billion over 10 years and an additional $1.6 trillion over the next 10. The Penn Wharton Budget Model projects a gain of $480 billion in 10 years and $1.3 trillion in 15 years. Our plan estimates a gain of $1.4 trillion over 10 years. All three estimates project meaningful increases in revenue, differing mainly in timing, but none assume recovery of a big fraction of the enormous tax gap. Our estimate would recover only 19 percent of the tax gap over 10 years.

I recently joined several fellow former Internal Revenue Service commissioners in support of the Biden plan because it would benefit everyone who pays taxes.

Charles O. Rossotti, Washington

The writer was Internal Revenue Service commissioner from 1997 to 2002 and is the author of the “shrink the tax gap” plan.

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