It has taken five years, but Congress has finally passed the Taxpayer First Act of 2019, the first comprehensive IRS reform measure to pass in twenty years. NAEA worked closely with tax writers during the entire process and secured a number of provisions that will benefit enrolled agents and their clients. Most importantly, the bill directs the IRS to issue guidance on the use of commercially available electronic signatures applications so your clients can electronically sign powers of attorney and authorization disclosure forms. NAEA worked with tax writers to draft the language, pushed for its inclusion, and protected it through all of the various incarnations of the legislation. NAEA member advocates as recently as last month were on Capitol Hill pushing Congress for this much needed and long overdue customer service improvement. Think of the time this will save you and your clients! NAEA applauds Congress for passing these much needed taxpayer protection and customer service improvements and looks forward to the president signing this bill into law.
No Time to Rest on Our Laurels
Action is also heating up on NAEA’s two other advocacy priorities: increasing funding for IRS and minimum standards for paid tax return preparers.
- IRS Budget. The House has begun its annual consideration of appropriations bills that fund government agencies, including the bill to fund IRS. The IRS funding bill passed the full Appropriations Committeethis week and will likely be grouped with other funding bills for floor consideration in the coming weeks. The House bill provides $12 billion in funding for IRS, including an additional $400 million for hiring auditors and collection personnel.
- Minimum Standards for Return Preparers. Jeff Trinca, NAEA’s intrepid and oft-quoted legislative counsel, has gotten word that a minimum standards bill may be introduced in the House soon.
Extenders Outlook Still Murky
Ways and Means Chairman Neal has developed an extenders package that would retroactively extend expired provisions for three years while also expanding refundable credits such as EITC and CTC. However, the package would be paid for by increasing the corporate tax rate, a non-starter for both House and Senate Republicans. Neal has indicated the Ways and Means Committee could mark-up the bill as soon as next week. Meanwhile, Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Wyden have created five task forces to examine which provisions should be saved and how to do so in a permanent way. Clearly, there is no consensus yet on how to move an extenders package.
Understanding Changes to Transcript Delivery Options
IRS will be hosting a webinar on alternatives to faxing tax transcripts on June 19. NAEA has and will continue to closely follow the rollout of the new program, including making sure all parts of the IRS are fully trained in the new policy.