House to vote Monday on new version of IRS modernization bill

House to vote Monday on new version of IRS modernization bill
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The House is scheduled to vote Monday on a new version of a bipartisan bill aimed at modernizing the IRS after the bill was reintroduced without a controversial provision codifying the IRS's free file program.

Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerTrump signs short-term spending bill to avert shutdown Senate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown House passes stopgap as spending talks stall MORE (D-Md.) announced the vote Friday, one day after the new version of the bill was introduced.

The package includes dozens of provisions designed to improve the IRS in areas such as customer service, taxpayer rights during the enforcement process, information technology, identity-theft protection and electronic systems.

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The House in April had passed an earlier version of the bill by voice vote. But some Democratic lawmakers raised concerns about a provision in that bill that would codify the IRS's free file program — under which it partners with tax-preparation companies to have those businesses offer free filing services for low- and middle-income taxpayers — after ProPublica published an article on the day of the vote highlighting tax-prep companies' lobbying on the provision.

Subsequently, ProPublica wrote additional articles about the free file program, reporting that tax-prep companies took steps to hide taxpayers' options under the program. Those articles led lawmakers in both parties to raise concerns about the free-file program and led the IRS to launch a review of it.

To move the IRS reform package forward, Reps. John LewisJohn LewisTrump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny Democrats ramp up oversight efforts over 'opportunity zone' incentive The 13 House Democrats who back Kavanaugh's impeachment MORE (D-Ga.) and 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.), the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the House Ways and Means Committee's oversight panel, introduced a new version of the bill on Thursday that does not include the free file provision.

The bill is supported by lawmakers in both parties and in both chambers of Congress, so lawmakers are hopeful that the measure will get to President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE's desk and be signed into law.

"After hearing from members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and freshmen Members, I am bringing the Taxpayer First Act to the Floor again next week under suspension without provisions related to online tax preparation," Hoyer said in a statement. "From providing funding for the popular Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program to limiting the ability of debt collectors to target low-income taxpayers, this bipartisan bill takes major steps to improve tax filing for Americans, especially the most vulnerable. However, there is consensus that the Free File provision ought to be removed."