Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has indicated he may want to make some changes to the IRS overhaul bill (H.R. 5444) passed by the House in April.
Hatch referred to the House legislation as a “welcome step forward” but has stopped short of endorsing every provision. Among many other changes, the House bill would establish an independent appeals office to resolve taxpayer disputes, require the IRS to submit a reorganization plan focused on customer service by Sept. 30, 2020, and require the agency to update its cybersecurity and IT systems.
The American Bar Association’s Section of Taxation sent a letter this week to Hatch and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) recommending changes to the provision that would give taxpayers a right to appeal tax disputes to an independent office. The bar group said the bill text is “vague and could be interpreted by the [IRS] to limit the ability of taxpayers to obtain appeals consideration.”
The ABA Section of Taxation also questioned a provision in the House legislation to change the IRS commissioner’s title to “administrator,” arguing it could cause confusion among taxpayers and would require substantial revisions to existing statutes and regulations.
Hatch has not indicated when the committee might consider the IRS overhaul bill. His committee at the moment is prioritizing hearings for Trump administration nominees. Hatch is holding a June 12 hearing for Tax Court nominees but has not scheduled a nomination hearing yet for Charles Rettig, the California tax lawyer President Trump has tapped for IRS commissioner. Rettig would serve a five-year term if confirmed by the Senate. He would replace David Kautter, Treasury assistant secretary for tax policy and acting commissioner since John Koskinen left at the end of his term in November.