February 21, 2020

Warren, Markey Urge Inclusion of Taxpayer Advocate on IRS's Taxpayer First Act Implementation Team

Excluding the taxpayer's voice from the core Taxpayer First Act implementation team "deprives the office of crucial expertise"

Text of the Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. -- United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protections, and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which has assembled a team to advise on the implementation of the Taxpayer First Act of 2019 (TFA), urging the IRS to immediately add a representative from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). TAS is a federal office that represents the voice of taxpayers at the IRS and whose work helped inform the Taxpayer First Act. The law includes more than two dozen provisions supported or encouraged by the TAS; however, the IRS's current TFA implementation team does not include a TAS advocate.

"The exclusion of TAS from the core Taxpayer First Act implementation team deprives the office of crucial expertise and denies taxpayers their institutional voice in charting implementation of legislation TAS helped craft," the lawmakers wrote. "The clearest route to bring the voice of taxpayers into the implementation of the Taxpayer First Act and to 'get it right' is to ensure that the Taxpayer Advocate Service is substantively involved in the implementation process."

The lawmakers have requested that the IRS respond to their letter no later than March 5, 2020.

Late last month, Senators Warren, Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Congressman Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) wrote a letter to the IRS asking about their plans to implement provisions of the TFA, which require the agency to exclude recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and taxpayers experiencing economic hardship from the IRS's Private Debt Collection (PDC) program. Earlier in January, Senator Warren sent a letter with Senator Brown to the IRS criticizing their introduction of a risky preauthorized direct debit payment option to the PDC program. In March 2018, Senator Warren wrote a letter to the IRS, also signed by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), asking about whether the PDC program unduly burdened taxpayers affected by natural disasters. In February 2018, she introduced legislation to repeal authority from the IRS to contract with private debt collectors to collect unpaid taxes with Senators Cardin and Brown.