Significant Portman Legislative Priorities in IRS Reform Package Signed Into Law

President Signed Into Law Taxpayer First Act Which Includes Key Provisions from Portman’s Protecting Taxpayers Act Legislation Introduced in 2018

July 1, 2019 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) today announced that President Trump has signed into law the bipartisan IRS reform legislation – the Taxpayer First Act – that includes a number of Portman legislative priorities that were included as part of the Protecting Taxpayers Act that he introduced with Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) last year. Portman issued the following statement: 

“The legislation the president signed into law today includes many of the provisions from my Protecting Taxpayers Act, the IRS reform bill I introduced with Senator Cardin last year,Senator Portman said“In particular, this bill includes provisions that establish an Independent Office of Appeals and strengthen taxpayers’ right to an appeal, an important taxpayer right first established in the 1998 IRS reform legislation that I authored in the House. The bill also preserves the IRS Oversight Board, giving the IRS and Congress a chance to revitalize the Board so that it may achieve its original purpose, acting as a board of directors for the agency.” 

This bill, now law, represents the most significant reform to the IRS in two decades and is an important first step toward restoring full faith in one of our government’s most important agencies.” Portman continued.  “There is still plenty of work that we can do to continue to modernize and strengthen the agency so that it better serves American taxpayers, and I look forward to Senate Finance consideration of additional IRS reform initiatives now that this legislation has been signed into law.” 

NOTE: Specifically, the Taxpayer First Act includes more than a dozen of Senator Portman’s IRS reform priorities that were included in his Protecting Taxpayers Act, including provisions that: 

  • Preserve the IRS Oversight Board so that Congress can work to reconstitute the Board and have it work in the way it was originally designed to help set the long term strategic direction of the agency;
  • Establish an Independent Office of Appeals and strengthen taxpayers’ right to an appeal, including full notice and protest procedures and open access to case files;
  • Direct the IRS to develop a comprehensive training strategy for their employees to foster a stronger culture at the agency and reinforce taxpayer rights;
  • Require the IRS to issue uniform guidance for the use of electronic signatures (which was also included in Portman’s Electronic Signatures Standards Act);
  • Reauthorize streamlined critical pay authority for IRS IT employees to make it easier to hire the best technical staffers needed to overhaul the IRS IT infrastructure;
  • Protect low-income taxpayers by permanently authorizing, and authorizing additional funding for, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program;
  • Codify low-income taxpayer exceptions from fee waivers and lump sum payments associated with IRS payment plans;
  • Direct the IRS to issue procedures for when direct deposits of tax refunds are sent to the wrong account; and
  • Modify the IRS’s legal authority to issue a designated summons, or a summons that freezes the statute of limitations for taxpayers, to ensure this enforcement tool is only used for uncooperative taxpayers.