Reps. Kelly and Lewis Introduce Bold Legislation to Reform IRS

Mar 28, 2019 Issues: Tax Reform

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight Chairman John Lewis (D-GA) and Ranking Member Mike Kelly (R-PA) introduced the Taxpayer First Act, a bill to reform the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The IRS, which was last altered in 1998, is in desperate need of a refocused mission. This legislation aims to create a “service-first” agency and repair the trust it has lost from the American people.

The IRS is one of the few federal agencies that has a constant relationship with Americans throughout their lives, said Kelly. Unfortunately, over the years that relationship has become one of fear and distrust. We can restore Americans’ faith and trust in the IRS by ensuring that the agency is acting as an advocate and meeting the needs of taxpayers.

Upon the release of the bill, Kelly and Lewis issued a joint statement with full committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX):  

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 goal of the legislation is to modernize the IRS, putting taxpayers first.  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 Taxpayer First Act would fundamentally change the taxpayer’s experience by bringing the IRS into the 21st century. Among other reforms, it would completely restructure the agency to improve efficiency, bolster cyber security, and require it to develop a customer service plan based on private sector best practices. It would also establish an independent appeals board to ensure that taxpayers receive a fair hearing during disputes.

The bipartisan, bicameral support for the bill suggests a significant likelihood that it will be enacted.