House, Senate tax-writers offer bipartisan bill to modernize IRS

Top lawmakers on the House and Senate's tax-writing committees on Thursday offered bipartisan legislation aimed at making improvements to the IRS.

The legislation, called the Taxpayer First Act of 2019, includes a host of targeted provisions aimed at modernizing the IRS's operations. It includes provisions designed to improve the IRS's taxpayer services, strengthen taxpayer rights when the IRS pursues enforcement actions, combat tax-related identity theft and expand the agency's use of electronic systems.

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The bill also would increase the penalty for failing to file a tax return, to offset the cost of other provisions in the legislation.

Lawmakers said the bill is the result of years of work from the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.

The House passed similar legislation last year on more than one occasion, but those bills weren't taken up in the Senate. Leading Senate tax-writers have also previously offered IRS reform bills in recent years that have some overlap with the Taxpayer First Act.

The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote on the newly introduced bill next week.

"The goal of the legislation is to modernize the IRS, putting taxpayers first," Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealSchiff blasts DOJ over memo on withholding Trump tax returns Schiff blasts DOJ over memo on withholding Trump tax returns On The Money: DOJ offers legal opinion backing refusal to release Trump tax returns | Centrist Democrats raise concerns over minimum wage | Trump bashes Powell ahead of crucial Fed meeting | Design leaks for Harriet Tubman bill MORE (D-Mass.), ranking member Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyFirst major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides First major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides House passes bipartisan IRS reform bill without 'Free File' provision MORE (R-Texas), Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John LewisJohn LewisFirst major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides First major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides 2020 Democrats mark three years since Pulse nightclub shooting MORE (D-Ga.) and Oversight Subcommittee ranking member Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyFirst major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides First major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides House to vote Monday on new version of IRS modernization bill MORE (R-Pa.) said in a statement.

"The commonsense provisions in this bill will protect low-income taxpayers, provide sensible enforcement reforms, and ensure the IRS provides taxpayers and small businesses the assistance they deserve,” the lawmakers added.

In a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday, Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One On The Money: Pelosi says no debt ceiling hike until deal on spending caps | McConnell pressures White House to strike budget deal | Warren bill would wipe out billions in student debt | Senate passes IRS reform bill On The Money: Pelosi says no debt ceiling hike until deal on spending caps | McConnell pressures White House to strike budget deal | Warren bill would wipe out billions in student debt | Senate passes IRS reform bill MORE (R-Iowa) touted several of the provisions in the bill, including those to create an independent IRS appeals office, allow all taxpayers to request a PIN to better secure their identities, provide more protections for IRS whistleblowers and make modifications to the IRS's private-debt collection program.

"It is truly a bipartisan package that adopts provisions authored by committee members on both sides of the aisle of the House and the Senate," Grassley said.

Finance Committee ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOn The Money: Pelosi says no debt ceiling hike until deal on spending caps | McConnell pressures White House to strike budget deal | Warren bill would wipe out billions in student debt | Senate passes IRS reform bill On The Money: Pelosi says no debt ceiling hike until deal on spending caps | McConnell pressures White House to strike budget deal | Warren bill would wipe out billions in student debt | Senate passes IRS reform bill Senate passes bipartisan IRS modernization bill MORE (D-Ore.) said in a statement that he's "hopeful it will be passed without delay.”