Bipartisan IRS Reform Bill Introduced

The House and Senate have introduced bipartisan measures to modernize the Internal Revenue Service, improve taxpayer services, and strengthen taxpayer protections. The measure, entitled the Taxpayer First Act of 2019, was introduced in the Senate by Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR). In the House the measure was introduced by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who chairs the Oversight Subcommittee on the House Ways and Means Committee.

The House legislation has already received 12 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.

Senator Grassley explained in a press release that the bill:

  • “Establishes an independent office of appeals within the IRS;
  • Requires the IRS to submit to Congress plans to redesign the structure of the agency to improve efficiency, modernize technology systems, enhance cyber security and better meet taxpayer needs;
  • Includes a number of provisions to help protect taxpayers from tax ID theft and improve taxpayer interaction with the IRS should they become a victim of this crime;
  • Expands to all taxpayers an IRS program that currently only allows victims of tax ID theft to obtain a personalized PIN that better secures their identity;
  • Puts in place new safeguards to protect taxpayers against recent IRS enforcement abuses of so-called “structuring laws”;
  • Improves the IRS whistleblower program by:
    • authorizing the IRS to communicate with whistleblowers during the processing of their claims, while also protecting taxpayer privacy; and
    • extending anti-retaliation provisions to IRS whistleblowers that are presently afforded to whistleblowers under other whistleblower laws;
  • Modifies the private debt collection program to ensure lower-income Americans are not targeted, while also strengthening the long-term viability of the program; and
  • Codifies the successful Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, allowing the IRS up to $30 million for matching grants to qualifying tax preparation sites.”

Senator Wyden voiced support for the legislation in the press release noting, “There’s no federal agency Americans interact with more than the IRS, and it’s critical that it be reformed and modernized to better serve taxpayers. Our bill would strengthen tax-preparation services for low-income Americans, improve agency technology and better protect taxpayers’ personal data. This legislation has strong bipartisan support and I’m hopeful it will be passed without delay.”

The House Ways and Means Committee advanced the legislation by voice vote today. Senator Grassley has indicated that so much work has already been done on building support for the bill that he may not need to bring it up in the Senate Finance Committee at all. Instead, the Senator may request it be brought directly to the Senate floor for a vote.

Senator Grassley also released a section by section analysis of the legislation which can be found here.

Posted in From the Hill



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