Today, the House will take action on a pair of bipartisan initiatives that will return customer service to the forefront of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) mission.
The agency is in dire need of a comprehensive overhaul to restore a "taxpayer first" focus. It lost its way years ago—exemplified by its political targeting scandal—and has continued to serve taxpayers poorly, while falling short of the standards and defenses needed to protect people's data and privacy. Though we’ve made some improvements—and recently enacted tax reform will reduce hassle—there wasn't a clear path for Congress to achieve meaningful, substantive IRS reform under the last administration.
That ends today. The House is about to pass what the Ways and Means Committee is calling “the biggest and boldest step in 20 years” to redesign the IRS.
The Taxpayer First Act. One of the bills being voted on today, the Taxpayer First Act will shift the balance of power back to the taxpayer. It creates an independent appeals process to review taxpayers’ disputes so they know their issues are being considered fairly and ensures equal access to information throughout the process. It provides enforcement reforms to rein in the IRS’ abuse of property seizure, and requires the agency to develop a detailed plan on how to redesign its structure by 2020. The bill also permanently extends the Free File and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs, which are valuable tools for low- and moderate-income Americans.
The 21st Century IRS Act. This afternoon, the House will also be voting on the 21st Century IRS Act to strengthen the security of the agency’s information technology systems, which date back to the 1960s. The bill will help the IRS better work with states and the private sector to confront cyber threats, and provides better support for identity theft victims by identifying a single point of contact to resolve their cases. Americans deserve the assurance that their personal information is being handled carefully and securely.
It’s beyond time to restore oversight, fairness, and accountability to the IRS. We’ve put a new tax code in place—now it’s time for a new approach at the IRS to match, one focused on serving the taxpayer.