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S. 3546: SNOOP Act of 2022


This could even affect President Joe Biden’s secret Venmo account that BuzzFeed News found.

Context

Starting next year, third-party digital payment systems like Venmo, PayPal, CashApp, and Zelle must issue a tax form for customers who earn more than $600 a year through such platforms.

Officially, these customers were supposed to self-report such money to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) all along. In practice, though, many of them weren’t. So Congress added the reporting provision in March 2021’s American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion legislation ostensibly primarily focused on Covid relief.

The provision went relatively unnoticed at first, both because the bill was 242 pages and because the provision won’t take effect until tax reporting time in 2023. But as tax reporting for 2022 enters its final sprint, the upcoming provision is attracting increased criticism from both Republicans and Democrats, the party which almost unanimously supported the overall legislation despite some Democrats objecting to that particular part.

What the bills do

Two similar legislative ideas from opposite parties would change this upcoming tax reporting provision.

Democrats’ Cut Red Tape for Online Sales Act would raise this IRS reporting requirement threshold from $600 to $5,000. The House version was introduced on March 15 as H.R. 7079, by Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH1). The Senate version was introduced the same day as S. 3840, by Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH).

Republicans’ SNOOP (Stop the Nosy Obsession with Online Payments) Act would discontinue the reporting requirement entirely. The Senate version was introduced on February 1 as S. 3546, by Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN). The House version was introduced a month later on March 3 as H.R. 6913, by Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA48).

What supporters say

Supporters argue that the legislation hurts middle-class and working-class people who earn some extra money through such payment services — such as, hypothetically, someone who performs at a piano bar on weekends and accepts song requests with tip money via Venmo.

“Government is too big and has no business involving itself in every corner of Americans’ lives,” Rep. Steel said in a press release about the Republican legislation. The proposal would “ensure that Americans can continue to live their lives without a distant bureaucrat in Washington, D.C. looking over their shoulder every time they participate in the mobile or digital economy.”

“Selling online has empowered Granite Staters to supplement their income… by connecting with buyers online,” Rep. Pappas said in a press release about the Democratic legislation. “Raising the reporting threshold will ensure sellers… are not subject to burdensome or confusing reporting requirements, which could result in overpayment as well as ineligibility for certain tax benefits.”

What opponents say

Opponents counter that the tax reporting requirements aren’t the burden some make them out to be, but rather add another layer of IRS vigilance to ensure the taxes which were already supposed to be paid are, indeed, paid.

“We see third-party information reporting as providing both a service to compliant taxpayers, through accurate and reliable reports that match what the IRS receives, and improving fairness as compliance increases and better-informed enforcement actions are possible,” IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig wrote in a September letter to the House Ways and Means Committee.

“Importantly, improved information reporting could result in decreasing audits of *compliant *taxpayers, saving those taxpayers time and money and increasing efficiency for the IRS,” Rettig continued. “The reason is simple: the more transparent a taxable event is to the IRS, the more likely the event is to be accurately reported and proper taxes are to be paid. This is in large part because whenever the IRS implements new information reporting requirements, voluntary compliance rises.”

Odds of passage

The Democratic legislation has attracted one Democratic House cosponsor and one Senate Democratic cosponsor. It awaits a potential vote in either the House Ways and Means or Senate Finance Committee.

The Republican legislation has attracted 16 Republican House cosponsors and 12 Senate Republican cosponsors. It awaits a vote in either of those same two committees. Odds of passage are low in the Democratic-controlled Congress.

Last updated Apr 1, 2022. View all GovTrack summaries.

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Feb 1, 2022.


Stop the Nosy Obsession with Online Payments Act of 2022 or the SNOOP Act of 2022

This bill modifies requirements for third party settlement organizations to eliminate their reporting requirement with respect to the transactions of their participating payees unless they have earned more than $20,000 on more than 200 separate transactions in an applicable tax period. A third party settlement organization is the central organization that has the contractual obligation to make payments to participating payees (generally, a merchant or business) in a third party payment network.

This reverses a provision in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that lowered the reporting threshold to $600 with no minimum on the number of transactions.