CFO Jimmy Patronis continues his attacks on the IRS
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis has been attacking the Internal Revenue Service for the past couple of months now, a safe political move against a historically unpopular federal agency.
The issue at hand this week is something that he deems an “existential threat” to Floridians and the state economy.
That would be a tax policy measure that was part of the American Rescue Plan stimulus plan signed into law by President Joe Biden in 2021 which calls for business financial transactions of more than $600 done on payment apps like Zelle or PayPal to be reported to the IRS.
Under the legislation, apps are supposed to send users a Form-1099-K for transactions of as little as $600. That was supposed to begin happening this year, but the IRS announced late last year that it was delaying the new reporting requirements until the 2024 tax filing season. Current law requires individuals to report gross payments exceeding $20,000 and report earnings if they have more than 200 such transactions in a year, according to the IRS.
When the law takes effect next year, any transactions that exceed $600 must be reported to the IRS, regardless of how many transactions.
In a letter sent on Wednesday to third-party payment platforms Cash App, PayPal, Venmo and Zelle, Patronis wrote that he was demanding “that you cease all coordination with these technologies and make public your communications with the IRS.”
“Florida is not going to sit idly by while Big Tech is building technologies to violate Floridians’ privacy, nor shakedown small business owners, who are just trying to make a buck in an economy where everything is expensive,” he wrote. “We’re not going to pretend that you’re not coordinating with the feds to build these tools. You need to come forward and tell the American public how much progress you’ve made in targeting Americans.”
During a roundtable discussion in West Palm Beach on Wednesday, Patronis, who is a potential gubernatorial candidate in 2026, also spoke about his so-called “Florida IRS Transparency Portal,” which he first unveiled in July.
“The online portal was created for individuals, private businesses, or non-profits to report evidence of discrimination by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) operatives and will help Florida identify patterns of discrimination where specific IRS agents are targeting certain political causes, practices, or beliefs.” according to a press release.
The Phoenix reached out to the cash app companies whom Patronis addressed in his letter, and did receive a response from Early Warning Services, LLC, the network operator of Zelle:
“The law requiring the issuance of forms 1099K applies to third-party payment networks that handle the settlement of funds. Payments between friends and family, and eligible small businesses sent through the Zelle Network® are not subject to this law because Zelle facilitates messaging between financial institutions but does not hold accounts or handle settlement of funds. If payments received on the Zelle Network are taxable, it is the consumer or organization’s responsibility to report them to the IRS. If consumers have any questions about their tax obligations, we advise them to consult with a tax professional.”
Last week at the Republican Party of Florida’s Statesman’s dinner in Orlando, Patronis also went after the federal agency responsible for collecting taxes, saying he wanted to “defund the IRS,” referring specifically to the $80 billion allotted to the agency through last year’s Inflation Reduction Act.
“They’re hiring an army of agents, and they’re going to come after the state of Florida,” he declared, adding that those agents would “examine every single transaction” that individuals make, and “we have got to stop this politically motivated political process from attacking law abiding Americans, law abiding Floridians.”
He later said that the state needed to create a trust fund to help people defend themselves if they are targeted by such “politically motivated IRS agents.” He also said he wanted to create penalties for those that targets Floridians in such an unethical and illegal manner.
In a press release sent out by his office on Wednesday, Palm Beach House Republican Mike Caruso said he looked forward to implementing Patronis’ proposals into legislation in 2024.
“As a CPA and a lawmaker, I’ve seen it all when it comes to the IRS,” Caruso said. “A huge thank you to CFO Patronis for bringing us all together and raising awareness on this important topic and I look forward to working together this legislative session to stop the IRS overreach.”
CORRECTION: An IRS figure from the Inflation Reduction Act was incorrectly reported in this story. The amount is $80 billion, not $80 million.