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Buchanan Opening Statement at Hearing on Reforming How the IRS Resolves Taxpayer Disputes

September 13, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) today delivered the following opening statement at a Subcommittee hearing entitled “IRS Reform: Resolving Taxpayer Disputes.”

CLICK HERE to watch the hearing.

Remarks as delivered:

Today’s hearing is another important step in the process of considering reforms to the IRS.  As I have stated previously, I do not view this effort as an opportunity to degrade or discredit the good work being done by IRS employees.  However, I am a big believer in continuous improvement.  In government, like in business, we should always be looking for ways to improve.

“In a system of voluntary tax compliance, even with the simplest of tax codes—and ours is currently not one of those—there are bound to be disputes between taxpayers and the IRS.  What we hope to learn today is about the experience of those taxpayers involved in resolving disputes with the IRS and whether there are ways to improve the current process.  I suspect there will be.

“Nearly 20 years ago—the last time significant reforms were made to the IRS, one of the key legislative priorities for Congress was the creation of an independent Appeals function.  As recently as two years ago, Congress reaffirmed the importance of an independent forum when the right to appeal to such a forum was included in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and codified as a responsibility of the Commissioner.  Ensuring the independence and availability of the administrative review process for taxpayer disputes remains a top priority of this Subcommittee.

“In addition to being independent, dispute resolution options need to be accessible and efficient.  The process is failing if only large businesses with deep pockets feel equipped to dispute a determination made by the IRS. Individuals and small businesses should not have to weigh the cost of hiring outside help against paying the assessment.  For most taxpayers, their only interactions with the IRS is when they file their taxes once a year.  But when taxpayers do find themselves in a dispute with the agency, they deserve a fair and prompt process.

“I look forward to working with the Ranking Member on these issues and to hearing from our witnesses as we continue our efforts to examine reforms to the IRS.”