AP NEWS

House passes IRS upgrade bill

April 9, 2019

The House approved legislation Tuesday that would give the IRS more ability to combat cyber crime as well as redesign the taxpayer appeals process.

Key Insights

The bill would create an independent appeals office within the IRS and prohibit the agency from using private debt collectors to recover unpaid liabilities from low-income taxpayers. It would also require the IRS to come up with a new customer service strategy.

It would bolster the agency’s cyber security and fraud prevention efforts by allowing the IRS to boost salaries for key information technology employees and create a single point of contact for taxpayers who have had a false tax return filed under their name.

The legislation, H.R. 1957, passed the chamber using a fast-track procedure for non-controversial bills. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has said he might let the legislation bypass his committee so the full Senate could approve the bill more quickly.

Go Deeper

The legislation is one of the first tax bills to pass under the Democratic House. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal has sought to pursue legislation with bipartisan backing, as he also engages in a political battle with the White House about his authority to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

The House has yet to address some time-sensitive tax provisions including fixing mistakes in the 2017 tax law affecting retailers and restaurants and extending expired tax breaks for homeowners and the biofuel and renewable energy industries.

The House Ways and Means Committee has also approved a bill that extends the time people can contribute to retirement accounts, but that has not yet come to a vote for the full House.