At his Senate affirmation final February, Daniel Werfel informed lawmakers that if given the job of Inside Income Service commissioner he would work to improve “public trust” within the beleaguered company and use the $80 billion that Congress had granted it to construct a “more modern and high-performing” group.

A yr later, Mr. Werfel has overseen the clearing of a backlog of hundreds of tax filings, shrinking wait instances on the I.R.S. phone traces and the creation of a system that lets certified taxpayers submit their federal returns with no price. However these achievements haven’t been sufficient to fulfill Republicans, who’ve accused Mr. Werfel of making the I.R.S. extra intrusive and even partaking in lawless conduct.

Hostile congressional hearings are routine for I.R.S. commissioners and when Mr. Werfel testifies earlier than the Home Methods and Means Committee on Thursday, he’ll obtain a frosty reception as he fends off efforts to reduce his company’s finances.

For Mr. Werfel, the face-off is a chance to clarify why even skeptics would profit from a well-funded I.R.S.

“I think the most powerful statement the I.R.S. can make, when there’s a proposal to significantly cut our budget, is to show our work and to demonstrate that we’re on a strong path to improving tax operations in a way that benefits taxpayers,” Mr. Werfel mentioned in an interview this week.

The I.R.S. was supposed to get $80 billion as half of the Inflation Discount Act of 2022, and that cash was anticipated to assist the company crack down on tax cheats and modernize its antiquated expertise. As half of an settlement to increase the debt restrict final yr, Democrats went together with Republicans’ calls for to claw again $20 billion of these funds. And Republican lawmakers have in latest months been eyeing extra cuts amid negotiations associated to paying for different insurance policies.

Throughout his first yr on the job, Mr. Werfel has tried to ease considerations fomented by critics of the company that the I.R.S. could be hiring hundreds of armed brokers to harass middle-class Individuals and small companies. To do this, he has centered on efforts to make the I.R.S. extra accessible by staffing up customer support facilities and making it doable for taxpayers to attain the company with out having to await hours on the phone.

As half of its modernization marketing campaign, the I.R.S. additionally introduced initiatives to crack down on rich tax evaders, stopped its apply of sending brokers unannounced to residences to accumulate unpaid taxes and began introducing synthetic intelligence expertise into its audits.

However high Republicans have argued that any indicators of progress on the I.R.S. are overshadowed by lingering issues. They insist that Mr. Werfel’s company, which they imagine has a historical past of concentrating on conservatives, is influenced by politics and favors Democrats.

These considerations have been infected by latest safety breaches. The I.R.S. has been beneath strain to enhance its information safety protocols after a former contractor who was accused of leaking the tax paperwork of Donald J. Trump and different rich Individuals was sentenced to 5 years in jail. A report printed final week by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration discovered that as of July, greater than 200 former I.R.S. staff or contractors nonetheless had entry to delicate info.

Members of the tax committee are anticipated to press Mr. Werfel on Thursday about why he delayed enforcement of a contentious tax coverage that might require customers of digital wallets and e-commerce platforms like Venmo, PayPal, Money App, StubHub and Etsy to begin reporting small transactions to the tax assortment company. The coverage was enacted as half of the American Rescue Plan of 2021 and has confronted criticism as a result of it might improve scrutiny of lower- and middle-class taxpayers. Though Republicans detest the coverage, they contend that Mr. Werfel’s delays are flouting the legislation.

“The I.R.S. should not be shielding Democrats from the consequences of their own bad lawmaking,” Consultant Jason Smith of Missouri, the Republican chairman of the Methods and Means Committee, mentioned in a press release. “The I.R.S. cannot sidestep the Constitution and simply rewrite laws.”

Mr. Werfel mentioned he deliberate to argue that he was inside his rights to delay the so-called Venmo tax as a result of the legislation, as written, would trigger widespread confusion and doubtlessly hurt taxpayers. And he would make the case that information safety on the company had considerably improved previously yr. Such incidents, nonetheless, have offered critics of the I.R.S. with fodder to argue that it doesn’t deserve the extra funding that it has acquired.

“Whenever you have some negotiation about budget things, you want money for Ukraine or Israel or something, we’ll take it out of the I.R.S. piggy bank,” mentioned Grover Norquist, founder and president of Individuals for Tax Reform, a gaggle that promotes decrease taxes. “Because they’ve shown no seriousness about being better about anything.”

The Biden administration has mentioned the persevering with assaults on the I.R.S. are half of a method to weaken the company so it doesn’t have the capability to catch rich taxpayers who evade paying what they owe. The Treasury Division estimates that the US has a nearly $700 billion “tax gap” of income that’s uncollected yearly and argues that stronger enforcement of the tax code is crucial for lowering America’s reliance on borrowed cash.

“There are those who have power and those who have wealth who would like nothing more than for the I.R.S. to not have the resources to go after them and make them pay their fair share,” Wally Adeyemo, the deputy Treasury secretary, mentioned in an interview.

The frequent discussions about chipping away on the company’s funding have left Mr. Werfel wanting over his shoulder as he tries to perform the priorities within the formidable multiyear working plan that the company produced final yr.

Mr. Werfel mentioned that the barrage of criticism directed on the I.R.S. through the years had taken a toll on its employees however that he believed that morale was beginning to enhance. He likens the position of the company to that of an neutral referee who is critical for presidency to operate, however he acknowledges the problem of staying out of politics.

“I think most people see us as the tax collector, and that is not the most popular action that the government takes,” Mr. Werfel mentioned. “It becomes the reality that when the debate is about the role of government, the size of government, the actions of government, that the I.R.S. is going to be front and center in that debate.”