WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released the following statement on the Taxpayer First Act becoming law.
“This bipartisan, bicameral bill represents years of hard work and consensus building. It’s a big first step toward strengthening taxpayer protections and turning the IRS into the customer service organization it ought to be,” Grassley said. “This new law is a victory for taxpayers, and its critical reforms are long overdue.”
Grassley introduced the Taxpayer First Act in the Senate earlier this year with Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). The bipartisan legislation:
- Establishes an independent office of appeals within the IRS;
- Requires the IRS to submit to Congress plans to redesign the structure of the agency to improve efficiency, modernize technology systems, enhance cyber security and better meet taxpayer needs;
- Includes a number of provisions to help protect taxpayers from tax ID theft and improve taxpayer interaction with the IRS should they become a victim of this crime;
- Expands to all taxpayers an IRS program that currently only allows victims of tax ID theft to obtain a personalized PIN that better secures their identity;
- Puts in place new safeguards to protect taxpayers against recent IRS enforcement abuses of so-called “structuring laws”;
- Improves the IRS whistleblower program by:
- authorizing the IRS to communicate with whistleblowers during the processing of their claims, while also protecting taxpayer privacy; and
- extending anti-retaliation provisions to IRS whistleblowers that are presently afforded to whistleblowers under other whistleblower laws;
- Modifies the private debt collection program to ensure lower-income Americans are not targeted, while also strengthening the program for the long term; and
- Codifies the successful Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, allowing the IRS up to $30 million for matching grants to qualifying tax preparation sites.
Grassley could not attend the bill signing at the White House because he is meeting with Iowans at his annual 99 county meetings. A representative of Grassley attended in his place.