Grassley, Wyden Introduce Taxpayer First Act to Modernize IRS
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ranking Member Ron Wyden of Oregon today introduced the Taxpayer First Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation to modernize the IRS, improve taxpayer services and strengthen taxpayer protections. The legislation is the product of years of bicameral, bipartisan work between the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. Former Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah and Wyden introduced similar legislation in the last Congress.
“Very few people enjoy the tax-filing process. That’s especially true for taxpayers who encounter frustrating situations that may seem unfair, for whistleblowers who aren’t treated respectfully or for ordinary taxpayers who want to make sure their privacy and security are protected,” Grassley said. “This legislation is a first step toward reforming the IRS and strengthening taxpayer protections. This bipartisan, bicameral agreement represents years of hard work and consensus building. I hope that it can pass in a timely manner and with broad support.”
“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,” Wyden said. “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 bipartisan 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:
o authorizing the IRS to communicate with whistleblowers during the processing of their claims, while also protecting taxpayer privacy; and
o 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.
A section-by-section summary of the legislation can be found here.
Text of the legislation can be found here.
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