The Taxpayer First Act (July 1, 2019) is considered the most significant tax legislation focused on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reform since the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998.
The Act addresses a number of issues that have arisen in the last thirty years since the 1998 legislation was enacted.
The Taxpayer First Act attempts to enhance taxpayer rights in dealing with the IRS. Those added rights include:
- Making the IRS appeals process more independent
- A requirement for the IRS to develop a comprehensive customer service strategy
- Requiring the IRS to respond to Taxpayer Advocate Directives
- Giving greater support to the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, support for Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) and taxpayer assistance centers (TACs), and establishing a Community Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Matching Grant Program
- Requires the IRS to establish requirements for cybersecurity and identity protection, and gives greater rights to taxpayers who are victims of identity theft
- Requires the IRS to develop and implement a plan for information technology enhancements and expanded access to electronic filing
- Provides greater innocent spouse relief
- Establishes new safeguards on the seizure of funds
- Offers greater taxpayer protections from private tax debt collectors
- Modifies the IRS procedures on summonses and notice with respect to third-party contacts
- Allows the IRS to accept credit and debit card payments directly
- Provides greater protections to whistleblowers
- Sets new limits on access to tax returns by non-IRS employees