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 NealDemocrats face growing storm over IRS reporting provision Biden's IRS proposal could mark the end of privacy in banking Overnight Health Care — Presented by The National Council for Mental Wellbeing — NIH study finds mix-and-match boosters effective MORE (D-Mass.), ranking member Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyDemocratic retirements could make a tough midterm year even worse Yellen confident of minimum global corporate tax passage in Congress 136 countries agree to deal on global minimum tax MORE (R-Texas), Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John LewisJohn LewisAlyssa Milano arrested at White House voting rights protest Kinzinger defends not supporting voting rights act: 'Democrats have to quit playing politics' What's at stake if Trump wins in 2024? Single-party authoritarian rule MORE (D-Ga.) and Oversight Subcommittee ranking member Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyHouse Ethics panel reviewing Rep. Malinowski's stock trades Lobbying world Lobbying world 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 GrassleyChuck GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — FDA moves to sell hearing aids over-the-counter McConnell: GOP should focus on future, not 'rehash' 2020 Iowa Democratic Party chair says he received multiple threats after op-ed critical of Trump 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 WydenDemocrats narrow scope of IRS proposal amid GOP attacks Democrats scramble for climate alternatives Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats address reports that clean energy program will be axed MORE (D-Ore.) said in a statement that he's "hopeful it will be passed without delay.”