Buchanan Announces Hearing on the Taxpayer Experience with the Internal Revenue Service

December 6, 2017 — Hearing Advisory   

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) announced today that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled “IRS Reform: The Taxpayer Experience” on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 10:00 AM in room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building.  At the hearing, Members will hear from witnesses about the interactions taxpayers have with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Upon announcing the hearing, Chairman Buchanan said:

“As we work to reform the IRS, our top priority is to improve the experience for hardworking American taxpayers. Taxpayers deserve prompt, courteous and competent help when they contact the IRS. This hearing is an opportunity to hear about the challenges currently facing the IRS and steps we can take in our bipartisan reform efforts to ensure the agency is adequately serving taxpayers.” 

BACKGROUND

The Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98) focused on improving customer service and fostering taxpayer trust.  Nearly two decades later, a recent report from Pew Research Center found that the IRS is still viewed unfavorably by a majority of the public – placing the agency among the lowest federal agencies in terms of favorability ratings.

In an attempt to strengthen the relationship between the IRS and taxpayers, Congress codified the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR) in 2015.  The TBOR seeks to ensure that taxpayers receive excellent customer service when they interact with the IRS.  The first among its ten rights is the taxpayer’s right to “be informed”—to know what is necessary to comply with the tax laws. Taxpayers should expect and receive clear explanations on all tax laws, including items ranging from instructions, notices, and overall correspondence. According to the National Taxpayer Advocate, 98 percent of all federal revenue is paid voluntarily. Taxpayers want to comply with the law but the complexity of the current tax code and mistrust of former IRS Commissioner Koskinen have added unnecessary difficulty.