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Repulicans and Democrats in Congress Celebrate Historic IRS Reform’s Passage

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Washington, June 14, 2019 | comments
The Times USA

Today, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) released the following statement after the Senate passed the Taxpayer First Act, bipartisan legislation to redesign the Internal Revenue Service for the first time in over two decades:

“After years of good-faith, bipartisan work, our IRS reforms are finally going to become law.  In this historic legislation, we focused on putting taxpayers first.  Our reforms authorize the restructuring of the entire IRS in order to better serve taxpayers.  We require the IRS to focus on customer service and reign in some of the agency’s enforcement tools.  And we provide the agency with needed tools to bring its IT infrastructure into the 21st century.

“The IRS should prioritize taxpayers’ rights and should be a resource – this legislation meets those goals.  We want to applaud the leadership of Oversight Chairman John Lewis over the past five years, and want to thank Rep. Mike Kelly for helping bring this legislation over the finish line.  We encourage President Trump to sign these historic reforms into law soon so that our tax administrator is better able to serve taxpayers everywhere.”

Following passage of the bill in the House, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee discussed the bills progress:

“Not many people look forward to interacting with the IRS. The process can be long, confusing and tedious. That’s particularly true for taxpayers who encounter frustrating situations that may seem unfair. It’s true for whistleblowers who aren’t treated respectfully, and it’s true for ordinary taxpayers who want to make sure their privacy and security are protected,” Grassley said. “The House passage of the bipartisan, bicameral Taxpayers First Act is the first step toward reforming the IRS and strengthening taxpayer protections. It should pass in the Senate without delay.”

Grassley introduced the Taxpayer First Act in the Senate earlier this year with Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). The legislation mirrored the House bill. According to a statement from the Senator, the bipartisan Senate legislation:

  • 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.
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