WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, and U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA), the House Democratic Caucus Chairman and a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, today introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives the Taxpayer Rights Act of 2015 (S. 2333/H.R. 4128). The Act aims to improve Internal Revenue Service (IRS) services and procedures and to protect the rights of all U.S. taxpayers. The Taxpayer Rights Act codifies 10 primary taxpayer rights; strengthens programs and other rules related to the preparation of tax returns; improves IRS lien and levy procedures, including procedures related to retirement accounts; and enhances the ability of the Office of the National Taxpayer Advocate to further aid and protect taxpayers.
The provisions of the Taxpayer Rights Act are drawn from recommendations included in the National Taxpayer Advocate’s Annual Reports to Congress. The Act also builds on the Portman-Cardin Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, which, among other things, created the National Taxpayer Advocate and improved the IRS’s lien and collection practices to better protect taxpayers.
“Americans of all income levels deserve to know their basic rights as taxpayers and that the federal government, including the IRS, is protecting those rights,” said Senator Cardin. “Our current tax system is complicated and the Taxpayer Rights Act will ensure that U.S. households with modest means have access to quality return preparation, along with the same knowledge and protection of their rights as other U.S. households. We have an obligation to strengthen the financial security and privacy of taxpayers.”
“Any discussion of tax reform needs to include ideas to boost access to IRS service and information, especially for modest income Americans, to help taxpayers complete one of their most important financial transactions of the year,” said Chairman Becerra. “Our bill will increase access to quality tax preparation, help ensure taxpayers know their rights, and improve taxpayer services at the IRS.”
Nina Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate praised the bill, saying: “The Taxpayer Rights Act of 2015 incorporates many proposals I have made and would substantially benefit our nation’s taxpayers. It would establish in law a fundamental Taxpayer Bill of Rights; enable the IRS to create minimum standards for unenrolled tax return preparers; expand tax return and representation programs for low income taxpayers; protect taxpayers from unwarranted lien-filings and levies, including levies on retirement account assets; and strengthen the independence of the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate.”