Pension & Benefits News House approves bipartisan IRS reform bill
Tuesday, April 30, 2019

House approves bipartisan IRS reform bill

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

The House on April 9, 2019 approved by voice vote a bipartisan, bicameral IRS reform bill. The IRS bill, which now heads to the Senate, would redesign the IRS for the first time in over twenty years.

IRS reform. The Taxpayer First [Bill] of 2019 (H.R. 1957), as amended, cleared the House Ways and Means Committee by voice on April 2 (see Pension Plan Guide Newsletter No. 2350, April 16, 2019). The House and Senate both introduced the bicameral, bipartisan measure on March 28, 2019. If enacted, the bill would make numerous reforms to the IRS, some of which include modernizing antiquated information technology systems and enhancing taxpayer services and identity protections.

“With a new tax code, it is time for a new tax administrator,” House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Kevin Brady (R-TX) said in an April 9 statement. “I applaud the House for passing the Taxpayer First Act - a bold step to redesign the IRS to be an agency with one singular mission: putting taxpayers first.”

The IRS Reform bill has been “years in the making,” Brady said on April 9, echoing a joint statement that he and Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), along with other bipartisan tax writers recently issued. “The House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee have carefully and thoughtfully developed this legislation over several years, after numerous hearings and roundtables, in a bipartisan, bicameral manner,” the lawmakers said.

Free File Alliance. However, the bipartisan, bicameral bill has not advanced without its share of criticism. Several Democratic lawmakers have criticized a provision within the bill that would codify the Free File Alliance, which is an agreement between the IRS and certain tax preparation companies that includes the IRS being unable to directly assist in tax return preparation.

Looking ahead. It remains unclear when the Senate will take up the Taxpayer First Bill. At this time, however, the bill is expected on Capitol Hill to easily be approved in the Senate.

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