PICPA weighs in on Taxpayer First Act

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The Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs is the latest accounting organization to chime in on proposed draft legislation to revamp the IRS, expressing mixed views on the proposals.

Along bipartisan lines earlier this week, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to approve a set of bills to “redesign” the IRS, including measures to help victims of identity theft and create an independent office of taxpayer appeals.

PICPA showed support for most aspects of the legislation, but noted some disagreements and suggested alternatives. The institute “fully supports” the proposed establishment of an independent appeals process that would allow taxpayers to appeal tax disputes, for instance, and indicated support for a more comprehensive customer service strategy that would include establishing metrics and benchmarks.

“A comprehensive customer service strategy that includes input from all stakeholders will ensure the new strategy is fair and meets all customer service needs,” said Sean Brennan, CPA, MBA, chair of the PICPA Federal Taxation Committee.

The PICPA disagreed with establishment of income thresholds for referral to private debt collection, specifically the exemption of low-income individuals from private debt collection unless such a taxpayers’ dependents or other debts are causing insolvency.

Another PICPA concern: proposed public-private stakeholder partnerships to address ID theft refund fraud. “Partnerships can help the IRS develop best practices and employ the latest technology. There is concern, however, that this growing trend, which has been necessitated by high turnover and deep budget cuts at the IRS, would lead to a ‘privatized IRS’ if substandard funding of the IRS continues. CPAs do not support a privatized IRS,” the institute said in the statement.

PICPA does support of continued public oversight of the IRS, in direct disagreement with the IRS proposal to eliminate its Oversight Board.

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