WASHINGTON (CNN) - A spokesman for the IRS said Thursday that the agency "stands ready to take collection action if the need arises" to get back taxes from 13 still unnamed companies that received billions of dollars in federal bailout money.
"The IRS has every expectation that these amounts will be paid and is committed to collect every dollar of taxes that are owed," IRS spokesman Frank Keith said in a statement.
Georgia Rep. John Lewis, chairman of a House subcommittee overseeing the federal bailout, first revealed at a hearing on Thursday morning that 13 companies receiving stimulus money owed over $220 million in back taxes. Keith said the IRS will closely monitor the companies and take action to make them pay, if necessary.
"The IRS recognizes that those entities that receive taxpayer support have a special obligation to pay their taxes, and these taxpayer accounts will remain closely monitored by the IRS to ensure that the full amount of taxes due are paid," Keith said. "The IRS stands ready to take collection action if the need arises."
Keith said the IRS gave Lewis' committee tax information related to TARP recipients. He noted that there could be a number of reasons why the companies did not pay all of their taxes and that having an unpaid balance "does not signal any intent not to pay."