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Sen. Grassley also backs use of IRS
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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
This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or
retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.