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Joint Statement With CAGW on Taxpayers Rights Markup

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The Honorable Kevin Brady, Chairman
The Honorable Richard Neal, Ranking Member
Committee on Ways and Means
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Brady, Ranking Member Neal, and members of the Committee:

On behalf of our organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of supporters across the United States, we commend you for conducting a markup of bills to better serve and protect taxpayers. This bipartisan effort is opening a new and vital chapter in the history of improving tax administration, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) management, government efficiency, and taxpayer rights.

The package of bills advancing through the committee contains numerous elements that our organizations have enthusiastically supported, whether working independently or in coalition. Among them are:

  • Strengthening protections from wrongful IRS asset seizures against innocent small businesses that conduct certain cash transactions;
  • Clarifying the taxpayer’s right to appeal, and limiting the circumstances under which the IRS can deny access to this critical safeguard in our tax system;
  • Improving the management of the IRS’s byzantine and often-dysfunctional information technology (IT) systems, beginning with codification of the agency’s CIO provision and benchmarks for an IT strategic plan;
  • Streamlining and upgrading taxpayer-centric procedures for resolving identity theft cases;
  • Making permanent the Free File Alliance program, a highly successful public-private partnership that offers electronic return-filing services to millions of eligible taxpayers; and
  • Increasing access to Offers in Compromise for low-income taxpayers.

How the tax laws are administered can be as important to Americans’ rights and confidence in government as what those laws say about payable rates, deductions, and other matters of policy. Although several major pieces of legislation affecting the IRS have been enacted since 1988, changing technologies, the evolving economy, and practical experience all mean that the job of modernizing tax administration, overseeing the tax agency, and protecting taxpayers is never finished. So it will be with the bills you are currently considering and the potential for additional improvements to customer service, the independence of appeals, and access to taxpayer remedies.

Toward this end, and throughout this process, please know that we are eager to assist you and your Senate colleagues in crafting the best possible legislation capable of reaching the President’s desk. We salute you for your dedication, persistence, and cooperation in creating a more accountable system of administration that puts taxpayers first, and we stand ready to render whatever assistance you may need in the days ahead.  

Sincerely,
                                                   
Pete Sepp, President                                                     Thomas A. Schatz, President
National Taxpayers Union                                           Council for Citizens Against Government Waste