Vilsack Defends USDA Working With IRS Re: Farm Program Payment Eligibility

April 1, 2009 07:00 PM
 

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Sen. Grassley also backs use of IRS


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack earlier this week defended plans to require farmers to allow the USDA to check with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on their eligibility for subsidies. Vilsack said USDA would be checking on a "very, very small" number of subsidy recipients.

"At some point in time, you have to make sure the payments are getting to the people who are entitled to them and not to the people who aren't," he said.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), asked about the USDA/IRS matter on Tuesday, said “You are going to have to have some of that information for higher income people to make a determination whether or not they are qualified and hit the income limits. And so that information would have to come from the IRS, and so that is implied in the Farm Bill, and I voted for the Farm Bill, so I'm obviously, in support of that. But that's not the same thing as violating the privacy of the income tax forms. It would be just the USDA contacting the IRS and saying, 'Is this farmer's income above or below this level?' And if the IRS says your income is above that level, then that's a determination [regarding eligibility for] farm payments. The extent to which people are worried about the IRS seeing every detail on their income tax, that's not an issue, and it need not be an issue.”


Comments: I have received several reader comments on this topic and will report on them in a future dispatch.


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


 

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