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 NealKrystal Ball accuses Democrats of having 'zero moral authority' amid impeachment inquiry House Democrats object to giving Trump notice before seeking NY tax returns On The Money: Trump appeals to Supreme Court to keep tax returns from NY prosecutors | Pelosi says deal on new NAFTA 'imminent' | Mnuchin downplays shutdown threat | Trump hits Fed after Walmart boasts strong earnings MORE (D-Mass.), ranking member Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyLawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families How centrist Dems learned to stop worrying and love impeachment On The Money: Senate passes first spending package as shutdown looms | Treasury moves to roll back Obama rules on offshore tax deals | Trade deal talks manage to weather Trump impeachment storm MORE (R-Texas), Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John LewisJohn LewisDemocrats ramp up oversight efforts over 'opportunity zone' incentive The 13 House Democrats who back Kavanaugh's impeachment Detroit police chief calls Tlaib facial recognization idea 'racist' MORE (D-Ga.) and Oversight Subcommittee ranking member Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyAlcohol industry races to save tax break by year-end deadline Democrats ramp up oversight efforts over 'opportunity zone' incentive Genetic counselors save health care dollars when involved in the testing process 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 GrassleyBooker, Sanders propose new federal agency to control drug prices GOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse Johnson opens door to subpoenaing whistleblower, Schiff, Bidens 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 WydenDemocratic senators introduce bill to block funding for border wall live stream Booker, Sanders propose new federal agency to control drug prices Hillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant MORE (D-Ore.) said in a statement that he's "hopeful it will be passed without delay.”