Congress Takes First Step Toward IRS Reform

This Week's News
April 14, 2018

On Tuesday, Republican and Democratic leaders of the HouseWays and Means Oversight Subcommittee released a set of bills to “redesign” the IRS. Included in the package is language requiring the IRS to provide guidance on using private sector electronic signature options for all Forms 8821 (Disclosure Authorization) and 2848 (Powers of Attorney), which has been an NAEA goal for many years. The Taxpayers First Act also includes bills addressing the following issues:

  • Amending the tax code to improve cybersecurity and taxpayer identity protection as well as modernize the information technology of the IRS;
  • Requiring the Treasury to establish a program for issuing identity protection personal identification numbers, also known as IP PINs, and providing for a single point of contact at the IRS for taxpayers who are victims of tax-related identity theft;
  • Restricting the immediate sale of seized property by the Treasury to perishable goods, thereby limiting the use of the controversial practice of civil asset forfeiture by the IRS; and
  • Amending the tax code to require electronic filing of the annual returns of taxexempt organizations and provide for making the returns available for public inspection.

In another letter sent to the authors of the bill, House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee chairman Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and ranking Democrat John Lewis (DGa.), NAEA stressed that the opportunity for major tax administration reform is rare, and tax professionals have been calling for more accountability when it comes to taxpayer services. The letter notes that several more taxpayer oriented proposals should be included to maximize this opportunity. Those include:

  • Provisions for effective, efficient, taxpayer-centered compliance activities in IRS’
    examination, collection, and appeals functions;
  • A mechanism for Congress to set expected levels of service and compliance for the
  • Workforce reforms that focus on the agency’s culture and leadership; and
  • Provisions that acknowledge the tax professional community,

For a full analysis, please read the most recent NAEA letter or the full Taxpayers First Act .