Terri Sewell proposal passes in IRS reform package

IRS Building DC

The House voted Wednesday to pass the Taxpayer First Act, bipartisan legislation aimed at transforming taxpayer interactions with the IRS for the first time since 1998 by strengthening the transparency and accountability at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and improving taxpayer services.

H.R. 5444 passed the House 414-0 with the full support of the Alabama delegation.

Among the bill’s many components was a provision proposed by Alabama 7th District U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell and her colleague Missouri-Republican Rep. Jason Smith. Originally introduced as the Preserving Taxpayers’ Rights Act, the provision aims to streamline and improve IRS audit processes and restore a more collaborative approach to resolution of disputes between taxpayers and the agency.

“This legislation is a chance for us to strengthen the relationship many taxpayers have with the IRS. Tax season is a stressful time for millions of Americans, and the compliance burden on the average American and small business owner is unnecessarily difficult,” Sewell explained. “Today, Congress took important steps to make the tax filing experience more sensible, fairer, and more efficient.”

Sewell continued, “The bill we passed today includes a bipartisan provision which I drafted with Rep. Jason Smith that improves efficiency and customer service at the IRS and gives taxpayers a chance to resolve disputes with the IRS without being forced to litigate in court. While our fight for a friendlier, more efficient tax system is not over, today’s vote is a victory for all taxpayers.”

The Preserving Taxpayers’ Rights Act, which was included in the underlying legislation that passed the House today, contains provisions which:

  1. maintains taxpayers’ legal right to have cases heard by the IRS Office of Appeals;
  2. further defines which IRS cases can be designated for litigation;
  3. further defines when tax liability assessments can be levied;
  4. and eliminates the use of outside law firms for federal tax audits.