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Vulnerable Dem senators take credit for delaying IRS requirement stemming from bill they helped pass

Democrat Sens. Sherrod Brown and Jon Tester are claiming credit for the IRS' temporary delay of a new 1099-K reporting requirement, despite voting for the bill that required it.

Two Democratic senators are attempting to take credit for the postponement of an IRS requirement they helped kick-start, claiming the "burdensome requirement" could "hurt" taxpayers.

President Biden's American Rescue Plan (ARPA), which was signed into law in March 2021, included a requirement for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to lower the Form 1099-K reporting threshold for online transactions from $20,000 to $600.

After weighing public response, the IRS temporarily postponed the new effort prior to Thanksgiving, citing "feedback from taxpayers, tax professionals, and payment processors and to reduce taxpayer confusion." The agency said they will postpone the effort until 2024 and set the new reporting threshold at transactions of $5,000 and over.

Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who are both facing tough re-elections in states won by former President Trump in 2020, are claiming they aided in the delay of significantly lowering the IRS' reporting threshold, despite helping pass the controversial bill it stemmed from.

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Tester initially voted for the trillion-dollar ARPA that included the new IRS requirement, but recently attempted to switch gears on the issue, saying "if these burdensome requirements are allowed to take effect during the upcoming tax filing season, it will hurt folks in Montana and across the country."

The Democrat also claimed he "fought to block the rule" in the bill he helped pass, claiming it would "hurt Montanans."

"The IRS should be focused on cracking down on multinational corporations and millionaire tax cheats, not on forcing burdensome paperwork on Montana’s working families," Tester said in a November press release. "I’m glad to see the IRS heard my concerns, and I’ll continue to fight back against burdensome bureaucratic policies that just don’t make sense for Montana."

In a statement to Fox News Digital, a spokesperson for Tester said, "Senator Tester believes the IRS should be focused on cracking down on multinational corporations and millionaire tax cheats, not on forcing burdensome paperwork on Montana’s working families."

"He was glad to see that the IRS listened to his concerns, and he will continue to fight back against the Biden Administration's burdensome bureaucratic policies that just don’t make sense for Montana," the spokesperson continued.

In a Nov. 17 letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, Tester said the "burdensome" reporting requirement would have a harsh impact on residents in Montana. Tester's office has also noted that the senator voted for an amendment that would have stripped funding from the IRS and prevented implementation of the 1099-K reporting rule.

Similarly, Senator Brown not only helped pass the American Rescue Plan, but unlike Tester, he voted against the GOP proposed amendment to raise the IRS requirement back up to $20,000 in 2022.

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Brown then attempted to take credit for the temporary delay of the "burdensome requirements" that were a result of the bill he passed.

A November press release from Brown's office wrote that, "following demands from U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the IRS today announced that it will once again delay the implementation of the $600 threshold for individuals and entrepreneurs who receive 1099-K tax forms for another year."

"Today the IRS finally agreed to delay its burdensome requirements on Ohio small businesses and online entrepreneurs," Brown said at the time. "This is welcome news for small businesses across Ohio who were about to be hit by red tape and excessive paperwork. But it’s not enough. It’s time to eliminate the $600 reporting threshold and permanently protect Ohioans from excessive IRS paperwork by passing my bipartisan Red Tape Reduction Act."

"My job is to fight for Ohio small businesses and entrepreneurs – not out of state billionaires," said Brown in a statement to Fox News Digital. "I’m proud to have taken on the IRS and pressured them to increase the 1099-K threshold this year – cutting down on unnecessary and excessive paperwork for small businesses. Now we need a permanent fix and that’s why I have brought together Republicans and Democrats on legislation to permanently raise the threshold to $10,000. I’ll keep fighting until we get this done."

Earlier this year, Brown, along with Louisiana GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy, proposed the Red Tape Reduction Act – legislation that will increase the threshold to $10,000 for when individuals and entrepreneurs receive 1099-K tax forms when they sell goods online. Since being introduced, that measure has seen little movement.

Transactions that could trigger tax reporting on Form 1099-K include sending money online through Venmo, CashApp and Apple Pay, as well as eBay, Etsy, Poshmark and Facebook Marketplace.

Tester and Brown, both of whom have worked to portray a moderate image in the Senate, are seeking to maintain their posts in the upper chamber as the 2024 elections rapidly approach.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub

Tester, who has represented Montana in the U.S. Senate since 2007 and previously served as president of the Montana state Senate, announced in February that he will seek re-election next year.

"I know that people in Washington don’t understand what a hard day’s work looks like or the challenges working families are facing in Montana," Tester said in a statement at the time. "Montanans need a fighter holding Washington accountable." 

Tester's seat, in a red state where Trump topped Biden by 16 points in 2020, is a top target for Senate Republicans as they aim to win back the chamber's majority in the 2024 elections.

Brown, who represented Ohio's 13th Congressional District in the House for more than a decade before winning election to the Senate in 2006, announced in Nov. 2022 that he will officially be seeking a fourth term in the Senate next year.

In the 2016 presidential election, Trump won the state of Ohio against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by about 8 percentage points. Trump also defeated Biden in Ohio in the 2020 election by the same margin, 53% to 45%, making Brown's seat a must-have for Republicans in the 2024 election.

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