Ways and Means Approves Bipartisan IRS Reform Package

The House Ways and Means Committee, in an April 11 markup, approved a bipartisan package of nine bills to restructure the IRS for the first time in 20 years. The IRS reform package was approved in committee by a voice vote and is reportedly expected to reach the House floor for a vote sometime next week.

House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chair Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., and ranking member John Lewis, D-Ga., in March released a discussion draft of the Taxpayer First Bill (HR 5444). The Taxpayer First Bill aims to improve IRS customer service and IT operations (TAXDAY, 2018/03/27, C.1). In addition, the bipartisan package calls for the IRS to submit to Congress a written comprehensive customer service strategy.

IRS Reform Package

“The bills we have before us today look to dramatically redesign the structure of the IRS and refocus it as a ‘Taxpayer First’ agency,” Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., said during opening statements. According to Brady, the bills “advance a modern vision for the IRS so taxpayers are treated fairly, their disputes are handled objectively, and issues resolved quickly and more affordably.”

The committee also approved the 21st Century IRS Bill (HR 5445), sponsored by Reps. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., and Suzan DelBene, D-Wash. This bill also aims to improve IRS IT operations and customer service. Additionally, the measure proposes cybersecurity and identity theft safeguards.

The seven smaller bills approved by the committee address other IRS administrative functions. Among other things, the bills include proposals to establish a single point of contact for tax-related identity theft victims, expand the use of Low-Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs), and require electronic filing for certain tax-exempt organizations.

JCT

The IRS reform package has no effect on revenue, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) (JCX-10-18).

Bipartisanship

“We pushed aside politics, and we put the taxpayers first,” Lewis said, commending the bipartisan package. “From the beginning, we committed to bipartisanship, and we refused to abandon our course.”

Likewise, Ways and Means ranking member Richard Neal, D-Mass., praised the package as good, bipartisan policy. “I encourage my colleagues to support all of these important IRS redesign bills,” Neal said.

By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Permanence Act of 2017, HR 2901

Legislation to establish a program for the issuance of identity protection personal identification numbers, HR 5437Legislation to allow officers and employees of the Department of the Treasury to provide to taxpayers information regarding low-income taxpayer clinics, HR 5438Legislation to provide for a single point of contact at the Internal Revenue Service for the taxpayers who are victims of tax-related identity theft, HR 5439Legislation to require notice from the Secretary of the Treasury in the case of any closure of a Taxpayer Assistance Center, HR 5440Legislation to require electronic filing of the annual returns of exempt organizations and provide for making such returns available for public inspection, HR 5443Taxpayer First Act, HR 544421st Century IRS Act, HR 5445
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