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John Oliver makes the case for the IRS, with musical guest Michael Bolton

Dylan Matthews is a senior correspondent and head writer for Vox's Future Perfect section and has worked at Vox since 2014. He is particularly interested in global health and pandemic prevention, anti-poverty efforts, economic policy and theory, and conflicts about the right way to do philanthropy.

It's easy to hate on the IRS, especially this time of year, and especially in light of the last two years of scandals involving the treatment of conservative advocacy groups. But as Last Week Tonight host John Oliver explained Sunday night (with an assist from musical guest Michael Bolton), there's actually a decent case that the agency should be given more money. Its budget has been slashed to the bone in recent years, leaving it with an aging workforce and outdated technology (including 1960s-era magnetic drives!). And it pays for itself: each dollar added to its budget generates, on average, $6 in additional tax revenue due to improved compliance.

"You can't lose nearly 20 percent of what you are and be as effective," Oliver said. "It's like pretending Zayn leaving One Direction doesn't tear the heart out of that band!"

It's not just budgeting that Congress needs to fix, though. It needs to update statutes that have allowed for the mass disclosure of Social Security numbers by the agency and for widespread tax refund theft. And it should authorize and fund a system wherein the agency uses your W-2s and 1099s to fill out your tax return for you, massively simplifying the taxpaying process.

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