Senate panel set to consider taxpayer protection bills Wednesday

Senate panel set to consider taxpayer protection bills Wednesday
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The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to vote Wednesday on two bills aimed at protecting taxpayers.

One of the bills, which is focused on preventing identity theft and tax refund fraud, was originally set to be considered in September. The other bill is new and includes provisions on other topics aimed at helping taxpayers.

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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (R-Utah) said Monday he is pleased “that after months of discussions with committee members, we have found a workable path forward on an important bill aimed at preventing identity theft and refund fraud.”

He added: “I’m also pleased that we will be considering an additional bill that provides further protections for taxpayers."

The markup of the identity-theft bill had been postponed after Republicans took issue with the fact that it would give the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) more power to regulate paid return preparers. They were critical of the IRS being given additional authority following the political targeting scandal.

A modification to the bill, which will be considered during the markup, deletes the section on regulating paid return preparers.

Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWyden blasts FEC Republicans for blocking probe into NRA over possible Russia donations Wyden calls for end to political ad targeting on Facebook, Google Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity MORE (D-Ore.) said he was pleased the panel was moving forward on the bill but was upset about the deletion.

“As another ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee before me wisely pointed out, it makes no sense that barbers are legally required to have more training than someone you trust with your Social Security number and banking information,” Wyden said.

The bill still includes a number of provisions aimed at protecting taxpayers from identity theft and refund fraud. These include requiring the IRS to develop guidelines in identity-theft cases to reduce the burden for victims, requiring the IRS to develop a report on identity-theft refund fraud and requiring the IRS to notify taxpayers if their identities may have been used in an unauthorized manner.

The ID-theft bill would also reauthorize the IRS’s streamlined critical pay authority, which allows the agency to quickly recruit and retain top-level information technology personnel. The authority had expired in 2013, and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen called for its renewal in a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing.

The other bill the committee is set to consider Wednesday includes provisions that direct the Government Accountability Office to conduct new studies, extend the time taxpayers have to bring a civil action for a wrongful levy, and require tax-exempt organizations to file forms electronically.