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House Approves IRS Reform Package


Andrew Presti

House Approves IRS Reform Package

The House on April 18 approved the two largest bills of a bipartisan IRS reform package. On April 17, the House approved seven other bills, by voice vote, which are also part of the larger bipartisan package. Its aim is to restructure the IRS for the first time in 20 years. The entire package of bills was approved by the Ways and Means Committee several weeks ago.

“Congress this week, the House this week, will undertake the first major reform of the IRS in more than two decades,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., said in an April 17 leadership press briefing. “A new tax code really demands a new tax collector – and, Republicans and Democrats together, are launching reforms that create a ‘Taxpayer First’ IRS.”

In an April 18 statement, Brady further remarked that “[w]ith this package, we are taking a monumental step in redesigning the IRS for first time in 20 years, refocusing the agency to live up to its mission of quality service, and reining in its enforcement powers to prevent future abuse.”

IRS Reform
The Taxpayer First Act (HR 5444), which is the lead bill, passed by a 414-to-3 vote. HR 5444, proposes changes to the IRS’s appeals process and customer service programs, and would implement other organizational restructuring.

The 21st Century IRS Act (HR 5445) was approved 414-to-0. HR 5445 focuses primarily on improving cybersecurity and taxpayer identity protection, and modernizing IRS information technology.

In addition, the House approved seven bills by unanimous consent on April 17: HR 2901, HR 5440, HR 5438, HR 5446, HR 5437, HR 5439, and HR 5443. The measures 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, among other things.

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

Senate
How the IRS reform bills will fare in the Senate remains to be seen. Although Senate Finance Committee (SFC) Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, has commended the House’s efforts toward restructuring the IRS, no word has been released as for when the Senate will consider the measure.