Dems push IRS on 'innocent spouse' protection

According to the group of House Democrats, spearheaded by Reps. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) and Jim McDermottJim McDermott19 House Democrats' sites hacked at close of gun sit-in 'Will on the Hill' pokes fun at 2016 election Overnight Healthcare: House mental health bill finally moving forward MORE (D-Wash.), around 50,000 innocent spouse claims are filed with the IRS each year, and the current policy disproportionately affects women. 

In their letter, the 49 lawmakers — including all the Democrats who sit on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee — also told Doug Shulman, the IRS commissioner, that his agency had “violated the spirit of the original law” in cutting off the ability to file for protection after two years. 

For their part, the three Democratic senators — Max BaucusMax BaucusGlover Park Group now lobbying for Lyft Wyden unveils business tax proposal College endowments under scrutiny MORE of Montana, the chairman of the Finance Committee; Tom HarkinTom HarkinGrassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream Do candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? MORE of Iowa; and Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownLame duck TPP vote could be disastrous for Dems—and America The Trail 2016: Her big night Kaine as Clinton's VP pick sells out progressive wing of party MORE of Ohio — sounded a similar note in their message to Shulman.

“We are concerned this two-year limitation denies relief to the very taxpayers the law was designed to help — the innocent spouses unaware of these IRS collection activities because of intimidation or deception by their spouse,” Baucus said in a statement. “We must re-evaluate these limits so all taxpayers are treated justly and have time to file for tax relief they deserve.”

Nina Olson, the national taxpayer advocate, has also called for the two-year limit to be extended.

In their letter, the Senate Democrats asked the IRS to re-evaluate the two-year rule, while the House Democrats asked Shulman to withdraw it.