Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
We have all likely heard some variation of the famous saying that nothing is certain but death and taxes. Given the preeminent inevitability of taxes, we must make certain that the federal agency tasked with administering this responsibility operates with just and up-to-date guidelines. Since Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed the Taxpayer First Act (TFA) into law last year, work has been underway to implement its provisions to modernize the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to expand taxpayer rights and make it a more taxpayer-friendly agency.
According to the 2019 IRS Data Book, providing the most current available summary of tax filings, in Fiscal Year 2019, the IRS processed 253 million individual and business tax returns and forms, collected more than $3.5 trillion in federal taxes paid by individuals and businesses, issued more than $452 billion in tax refunds and had a budget of $11.8 billion. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports that in the 20 years before enactment of the relatively recent Taxpayer First Act, the structure of the IRS had largely been unchanged. In addition, the IRS “has struggled with customer service, a large and growing amount of uncollected taxes, and information security, as documented by the Taxpayer Advocate and the Government Accountability Office (GAO).”
The bipartisan Taxpayer First Act made changes to restructure and modernize the IRS, with a focus on new protections for taxpayers:
The following link provides more information about these and the many other provisions of this important law: https://www.irs.gov/taxpayer-first-act. These types of bipartisan reforms are the direction we need to continue to go to ensure taxpayers are treated fairly by the agency tasked with collecting their hard-earned dollars.