The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a markup for a series of bills related to IRS reform on April 11 at 10 a.m. Among the bills to be considered is The Taxpayer First Act – a bipartisan measure to improve IRS operations and tax administration procedures.
House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairwoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Ranking Member John Lewis (D-GA) released a discussion draft of the bill over the spring break recess. The measure would overhaul the tax collection agency and modernize its information technology infrastructure. The overall goal is to improve taxpayer services and customer experience with the IRS.
The discussion draft is the product of 11 subcommittee hearings and roundtables over the past three years. The six-title bill includes provisions to reform the independent appeals process; improve customer service; promote sensible enforcement; enhance cybersecurity protection; modernize the IT infrastructure; and update the Tax Court. Most of the provisions in the bill have bipartisan and bicameral support.
Here are some noteworthy highlights:
- Modify Select Official Titles. The current title of “Commissioner of Internal Revenue” would be changed to “Administrator of the Internal Revenue Service.” The current title of “Deputy Commissioner” would be changed to “Deputy Administrator.”
- Establish an IRS Independent Office of Appeals. This provision would ensure that all taxpayers are able to access the administrative review process, so that their cases can be heard by an independent decision maker. This includes codifying the IRS Independent Office of Appeals and providing for additional Congressional oversight over decisions to stop taxpayers from engaging in the administrative review process.
- Codify IRS Free File Program. This provision would codify the existing Free File Program and work with stakeholders to improve and promote the program. This is a bipartisan proposal spearheaded by Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Ron Kind (D-WI).
- Limit Access to Information. This provision would prohibit a person, other than IRS personnel, from examining books, records, and witness testimony as part of an examination, unless they are serving as an expert.
- Establish a Single Point of Contact for Identity Theft Victims. This provision would establish a single point of contact within the IRS for any taxpayer who is a victim of identity theft.
Interestingly, the bill does not include any provisions to regulate paid tax return preparers — an issue that has been hotly debated in recent years.
A full section-by-section summary of the discussion draft is available here.