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Georgia Republicans rip proposed IRS rule
Gov. Brian Kemp speaks at the German American Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta in late September. (Special | Office of Gov. Brian Kemp)

Gov. Brian Kemp, the Georgia Chamber and state bankers spoke out last week against a proposed IRS rule that would require banks to report many financial transactions.

Under the plan, banks and credit unions would have to report business and personal transactions on accounts with a balance of at least $600, or on accounts that do at least $50 in transactions per month.

“This ridiculous power grab by the Biden administration is only their latest attempt to hurt businesses and undermine the constitutional rights of hardworking Georgians,” Kemp said Thursday.

“There is absolutely no reason for the federal government to have the ability to monitor nearly every checking account in the country. This is a reckless invasion of privacy and a gut punch to community banks, small businesses and large banking institutions alike.”

President Joe Biden’s Treasury Department has proposed a change to financial account reporting rules, citing an IRS estimate of business tax revenue loss at $166 billion.

Banks would not be required to report the details on individual transactions, but the amount of money flowing into and out of applicable accounts. That would help the IRS detect underreported income and ferret out tax evaders.

But the head of a state banking group said the proposal goes too far.

“Consumers, small-business owners and families should rightly be concerned that their personal financial information will be turned over to the IRS with no assurance their data will be protected from cyber criminals or restricted to this one idea,” Joe Brannon, the president and CEO of the Georgia Bankers Association, said.

“This costly and intrusive proposal is loaded with harmful potential and we urge all Georgia citizens to join us in opposing it.”

Chris Clark, the president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber, called the proposal “blatant overreach” by government that would place a burden on banks and small businesses in the state.

“It undermines the privacy of everyday Georgians and simply outweighs any hypothetical, unproven gains,” Clark said.

In a tweet Oct. 6, Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., said, “The IRS isn’t a weapon to be used against the American people.”

His office has declined to comment further.

The offices of Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, both Democrats from Atlanta, did not immediately return requests for comment.

The proposal would take effect for tax years that begin after Dec. 31, 2022.