The time for IRS reform is now. It looks like the politics have stopped regarding funding the IRS. After both parties started to realize that the one agency of government that actually brings in multiple dollars for every dollar spent on it, bipartisan support for funding increases to the IRS, not seen in a decade, have finally started to take shape.
Central to Americans confidence in our government is their confidence in our tax collection system. Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service has not always earned that trust, undermining this system of voluntary compliance and taxpayer engagement. That period of sustained improvement at the IRS has unraveled in recent years. According to the taxpayer advocate, the percentage of calls that the IRS answered bottomed out at a staggeringly low 15 percent in 2015. In addition, nearly 40 percent of taxpayers that called the IRS in 2017 felt they were not able to resolve their issues with just one call.
The time for IRS reform is now. Despite the efforts 20 years ago to include an independent appeal of a decision, appeals have declined because the IRS has chosen to settle more cases in Tax Court–at a higher cost to taxpayers. For the IRS to effectively serve the American people again, it must be financed properly. We applaud the efforts of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., as well as the House for the solutions they have offered over the past few years.
Much as we did 20 years ago, we believe more substantial reforms are needed, and we believe any solution should empower taxpayers of all types and income levels. We support legislation called the Protecting Taxpayers Act that will do this by focusing on strengthening protections for taxpayers, ensuring an effective taxpayer appeals process, revitalizing the Oversight Board and IRS taxpayer service training, and increasing the staffing of compliance and audits.