IRS could get a face-lift: What to know

By TaxesFOXBusiness

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is addressing income inequality: National Taxpayers Union's Mattie Duppler

National Taxpayers Union senior fellow Mattie Duppler says the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is addressing income inequality.

Amid a push for comprehensive retirement reform, U.S. House lawmakers this week also voted to advance a bill targeting operations at the IRS.

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The bipartisan legislation, which was approved in a vote by the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, proposes adjustments that could alter a number of provisions and change parts of the taxpayer experience.

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Of the taxpayer-focused policies, lawmakers are calling for negligent taxpayers to be penalized more by the agency. The bill would increase fees for those who file more than 60 days late to $330, up from the current $205.

The agency would push more people to file electronically.

This tax season, the National Taxpayer Advocate voiced concern over a decline in customer call services which had the potential to be particularly damaging during a year where Americans were filing under a new law for the first time. To address these types of issues, the new bill would require the agency to create a more comprehensive customer service strategy.

The legislation would exempt certain low-income taxpayers from being pursued by private debt collection agencies via IRS referrals – a contested practice. It would also bolster programs to provide free filing services to low-income payers.

Another measure would create an independent appeals office, with a leader appointed by the agency’s commissioner. This proposal would help taxpayers resolve disputes with the agency, with people given access to case files before the dispute resolution process begins. Individuals would also be notified about an audit before third parties were contacted.

While the agency works to combat identity fraud, lawmakers are also hoping to streamline communications between the agency and potential theft victims.

There are a host of other provisions aimed at modernizing technology and enhancing security.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Rep. Kevin Brady (R.-Texas), a ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee, called the effort “great bipartisan work.”

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As previously reported by FOX Business, the IRS has been battling a number of headwinds throughout recent years, including diminishing funds and worker headcount.. The IRS lost about 18,000 full-time positions between 2010 and the start of 2018. In 2017 alone, 6,801 permanent jobs were lost. The agency has, consequently, had fewer resources to go after negligent taxpayers and conduct audits.