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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 NealBiden names Janet Yellen as his Treasury nominee Overnight Health Care: Trump announces two moves aimed at lowering drug prices | Sturgis rally blamed for COVID-19 spread in Minnesota | Stanford faculty condemn Scott Atlas Trump announces two moves aimed at lowering drug prices MORE (D-Mass.), ranking member Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyOn The Money: Biden, Democratic leaders push for lame-duck coronavirus deal | Business groups shudder at Sanders as Labor secretary | Congress could pass retirement bill as soon as this year Top Democrat: Congress could pass retirement bill as soon as this year Momentum grows for bipartisan retirement bill in divided Congress MORE (R-Texas), Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John LewisJohn LewisOssoff features Obama in TV ad ahead of in Georgia run-off Democrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? Democrats lead in diversity in new Congress despite GOP gains MORE (D-Ga.) and Oversight Subcommittee ranking member Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyCruz urges Supreme Court to take up Pennsylvania election challenge Lieutenant governor: Trump campaign would get its 'clock cleaned' if it appeals Pennsylvania ruling to Supreme Court Pennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification 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 GrassleyCriminal justice groups offer support for Durbin amid fight for Judiciary spot Capitol physician advises lawmakers against attending dinners, receptions during COVID-19 spike Congress ends its year under shadow of COVID-19 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 WydenSenators call for passage of bill to cement alcohol excise tax relief The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms Alcohol industry ramps up pressure on Congress for tax relief MORE (D-Ore.) said in a statement that he's "hopeful it will be passed without delay.”