WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) announced today that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on reforms to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The hearing, titled “IRS Reform: Resolving Taxpayer Disputes,” will take place on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 2:00 PM in room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building. At the hearing, Members will discuss improvements to the way the IRS resolves disputes with taxpayers.
Upon announcing the hearing, Chairman Buchanan said:
“Nearly 20 years ago—the last time Congress considered reforms to the IRS—it was a priority to make sure all taxpayers were treated fairly. Fairness absolutely remains a top priority now. In a dispute with the IRS, taxpayers should experience an impartial process that doesn’t cost them more than the underlying dispute. This hearing will provide a key opportunity for Congress to hear about interactions taxpayers and tax practitioners have with the IRS, and what steps we can take to ensure the agency treats all taxpayers with the respect and fairness they deserve.”
The Better Way Blueprint released in June 2016 calls for rebuilding the IRS “into a modern and efficient 21st century administrator of the nation’s tax system.” This includes prioritizing customer service and helping taxpayers resolve disputes with the IRS—particularly routine “small claims” that should not require extensive legal fees to resolve.
The Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98) made significant changes to dispute resolution procedures at the IRS. RRA 98 mandated an independent Appeals function and required that an Appeals Officer be available in every state. The legislation changed the due process rights afforded to taxpayers after the filing of a notice of federal tax lien and required the approval of IRS legal counsel prior to certain levies and assessments. The Act also required the IRS to implement an alternative dispute resolution process whereby a taxpayer could request early resolution of one or more issues.
It has been nearly twenty years since RRA 98 was codified.