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Representative Darin LaHood

Representing the 18th District of Illinois

LaHood, Suozzi Introduce Legislation to Empower Taxpayers Following Hearing with the National Taxpayer Advocate

March 25, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Tom Suozzi (D-NY) introduced H.R. 1825, the Improving Assistance for Taxpayers Act, which will take steps to address systemic issues within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and expand protections for taxpayers by instructing the IRS to respond promptly to Taxpayer Assistance Directives (TAD) issued by the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). Rep. LaHood questioned the National Taxpayer Advocate on TADs and the issues that arise from failures to adequately address systemic problems within the IRS during the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight hearing earlier this month. 

“Dealing with the IRS can be frustrating, which is why our Taxpayer Advocate Service must have the tools it needs to get answers for taxpayers,” said Rep. LaHood. “As I heard directly from the National Taxpayer Advocate, when the TAS issues directives to address systemic problems at the IRS, it deserves more than a simple form letter. That is why I am joining Rep. Suozzi to reintroduce the Improving Assistance for Taxpayers Act, which will require the agency to send a detailed response to TAS directives within 90 days and notify Congress if they fail to do so. Taxpayers deserve government agencies that function with efficiency and transparency, and this legislation will bring both to the IRS.”

“As we heard from the National Taxpayer Advocate a few weeks ago, people are not getting the assistance they need to properly file their taxes,” said Congressman Tom Suozzi. “Taxpayers, who are trying to call the IRS for help, are facing long wait times and only 18% of calls are actually answered. It is imperative that the IRS is held accountable by an independent body to ensure taxpayers’ rights are protected. That is why I am proud to reintroduce this bill with my colleague Rep. Darin LaHood, so that we can help provide American taxpayers the support they need to navigate this archaic system.”

You can watch Rep. LaHood’s full questioning from the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight with the National Taxpayer Advocate HERE.

In the 115th Congress, the Improving Assistance for Taxpayers Act, passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support.

Background:
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) provides free help to those with unresolved tax problems with the IRS. They include the two Local Taxpayer Advocates (LTA) in Illinois, with offices in Chicago and Springfield. The TAS is charged with advocating for taxpayers both in specific cases and systemically.

To confront systemic issues within the IRS, the TAS can issue TADs. A TAD may require an IRS unit to change procedures “to improve the operation of a functional process or to grant relief to groups of taxpayers (or all taxpayers) when implementation will protect the rights of taxpayers, prevent undue burden, ensure equitable treatment or provide an essential service to taxpayers.” However, these TADs are not always responded to by the IRS, with some responses comparable to a form letter response.

The Improving Assistance for Taxpayers Act will codify that the IRS is required to issue a detailed response to TADs ordered by the Taxpayer Advocate within 90 days. To further increase transparency, the Taxpayer Advocate will be required to report to Congress when the IRS does not respond to TADs.