The House of Representatives yesterday passed H.R. 1957, the Taxpayer First Act of 2019, which will overhaul the Internal Revenue Service and make chances to the program where the agency places unpaid tax debts with one of four private collection agencies.
The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Chuck Grassley [R-Iowa], the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and co-sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden [D-Kan.], the committee’s Ranking Member.
Under the bill, individuals whose income is derived mostly from disability insurance benefits, as well as those whose incomes are less than 200% of the applicable poverty level would be exempt from having their unpaid tax bills placed with one of the four agencies collecting debt on behalf of the IRS. The four agencies would also be allowed to create payments plans that last up to seven years, up from five years currently.
“The bill will improve the Internal Revenue Service and help our taxpayers,” said Rep. John Lewis [D-Ga.], who sponsored the bill in the House.
The IRS has been accused of targeting low-income individuals by placing more of their unpaid debts with the private agencies.
Many published reports focused on the bill’s prohibition against the IRS from creating its own free tax preparation software.