Dems want info from IRS about new tax forms

Two key House Democrats are asking the IRS for information about third-party analyses of the new tax-filing "postcard," after the agency's in-house watchdog expressed concerns about the forms.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealTrump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny On The Money: House passes monthlong stopgap | Broader spending talks stall | Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns | Progressives ramp up attacks on private equity Overnight Energy: Mark Ruffalo pushes Congress on 'forever chemicals' | Lawmakers spar over actor's testimony | House Dems unveil renewable energy tax plan | Funding for conservation program passes Senate hurdle MORE (Mass.) and Rep. John LewisJohn LewisTrump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny Democrats ramp up oversight efforts over 'opportunity zone' incentive The 13 House Democrats who back Kavanaugh's impeachment MORE (Ga.), head of the panel's oversight subcommittee, wrote in a letter last week to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig that they are seeking the information "so that we may better understand the full extent of any due diligence on the usability of the postcard by taxpayers."

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The Treasury Department and IRS last year unveiled a smaller Form 1040, the document individuals use to file their taxes, after Republicans pledged that their 2017 tax-code overhaul would let people file their taxes on a form the size of a postcard. The new form, which taxpayers are using for the first time during the current filing season, is smaller than the previous version but also moves some items that were on the old form to separate documents known as schedules.

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson said in a report last week that the new schedules could increase the odds of taxpayer errors since the information will be dispersed over several pages and taxpayers will need to cross-reference and transfer data.

Neal and Lewis want the IRS to provide information about any analyses the agency requested from third parties to evaluate the usability of the new 1040 and its schedules. They want the names of any entities that conducted studies, any documents those groups provided to the IRS about the usability of the forms, and an explanation of why any results weren't made public.

The letter is one of several that Democrats have sent to the IRS and the Treasury Department in recent days, as they seek to conduct oversight of the first tax-filing season under President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE's 2017 tax law. All congressional Democrats voted against the tax-overhaul legislation in 2017, arguing that it would primarily help wealthy taxpayers and harm the middle class.

Both House and Senate Democrats asked Treasury and the IRS last week to provide additional penalty relief for taxpayers who owe the IRS money when they pay their taxes this year. While most taxpayers will see a reduction in their tax liability because of the 2017 tax law, the number of taxpayers who are expected to owe the agency money this year instead of receiving a refund is slated to increase slightly, due to withholding guidance that the IRS released last year to account for key provisions in the law.