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 NealWyden, Mnuchin clash over Trump tax returns, Hunter Biden probe Overnight Health Care: House panel advances legislation on surprise medical bills | Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Trump abortion coverage rule | CDC identifies 13th US patient with coronavirus White House warns of raising health costs in debate over surprise medical bills MORE (D-Mass.), ranking member Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyDemocrats, GOP spar over Treasury rules on Trump tax law Ex-HHS chief threatens to vote 'no' on surprise medical billing measure Bipartisan Ways and Means leaders unveil measure to stop surprise medical bills MORE (R-Texas), Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John LewisJohn LewisHouse passes bipartisan bill to create women's history museum NAACP to honor John Lewis 10 Democrats to boycott Trump State of the Union address MORE (D-Ga.) and Oversight Subcommittee ranking member Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyEven in a time of impeachment, health care is on the agenda Top moments from historic House impeachment debate GOP lawmaker compares impeachment to Pearl Harbor 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 Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law Wyden, Mnuchin clash over Trump tax returns, Hunter Biden probe 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 WydenSenate Dems blast Barr for 'clear violation' of duty in Stone case, urge him to resign Overnight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case Harris, Castro introduce resolution condemning Trump aide Stephen Miller MORE (D-Ore.) said in a statement that he's "hopeful it will be passed without delay.”