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Cleaning Up the IRS Starts Today

April 15, 2015

The IRS works for the taxpayer, not the other way around,” as Chairman Ryan said not long ago. Or at least it should. It sure doesn’t feel that way on April 15—Tax Day. And over the past few years, the IRS has sapped public faith in the institution through mismanagement and outright abuse of power: targeting people because of their political beliefs, precipitously seizing small businesses’ assets, wasting taxpayer money.

The IRS needs to clean up its act. That is why today the House will take up a batch of commonsense reform bills to ensure the IRS remains accountable to the taxpayer. These bills, which have bipartisan support, will not fix everything about the IRS, but they will make the IRS more accountable and transparent to you—the taxpayer.

Here are some more details on the bills the House will vote on later today:

H.R. 1058, Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act of 2015 (Roskam)

  • R. 1058 would incorporate a taxpayer’s bill of rights into the core responsibilities of the IRS commissioner. This would include rights to quality service, to pay no more than the correct amount of tax, to privacy, and to challenge the IRS’s decisions and be heard.
  • This bill could help restore taxpayers’ trust in both the IRS and the tax code.

 H.R. 1152, To prohibit officers and employees of the Internal Revenue Service from using personal email accounts to conduct official business (Marchant)

  • This bill would prohibit IRS employees from using personal email for official government business.
  • Events over the past month underscore the need to maintain transparent record-keeping procedures for executive-branch employees.

H.R. 1026, Taxpayer Knowledge of IRS Investigations Act (Kelly)

  • R. 1026 would restore accountability to the IRS and give the American people the transparency they deserve.
  • This bill amends the tax code to stop the IRS from using a provision that is designed to protect taxpayer privacy, but is instead used to protect government employees who improperly look at or reveal taxpayer information.

H.R. 1295, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to improve the process for making determinations with respect to whether organizations are exempt from taxation under section 501(c)4 of such code (Holding)

  • R. 1295 would help prevent the IRS from targeting organizations because of their political or religious beliefs when filing for tax-exempt status.
  • This legislation allows groups to declare their tax-exempt status rather than wait endlessly to gain approval from the IRS. It also gives these groups access to court to challenge IRS decisions.

H.R. 1314, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for a right to an administrative appeal relating to adverse determinations of tax-exempt status of certain organizations (Meehan)

  • R. 1314 would ensure that all Americans get fair treatment by the IRS.
  • This legislation amends the tax code to restore tax-exempt organizations’ right to appeal adverse IRS decisions.

 H.R. 709, the Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act (Renacci)

  • R. 709 would make political targeting a fireable offense at the IRS.
  • This legislation would authorize the IRS to terminate employees who target individuals because of their political beliefs.

 H.R. 1104, Fair Treatment for All Gifts Act (Roskam)

  • This bill would ensure fair and equal treatment for Americans who donate to tax-exempt organizations with the threat of a gift tax audit.
  • By effectively exempting contributions from the gift tax, this bill would shield Americans from even more burdensome taxes and intrusive scrutiny by the IRS.