Ways and Means targets IRS and talks tax reform at filing deadline

The House Ways and Means Committee used the lead-up to the April 18 individual filing deadline to push four bills aimed at the IRS and discuss sweeping tax reform strategies.

The committee approved four bills by party-line votes that would:

  • Cut $400 million from the IRS budget by denying the agency user fees (H.R. 4885)
  • Ban IRS employee awards and bonuses until the IRS develops a comprehensive customer service plan (H.R. 4890)
  • Bar the IRS from rehiring employees discharged for misconduct (H.R. 3724)
  • Freeze all IRS hiring until the Treasury Department certifies that no IRS employee has a federal tax delinquency (H.R. 1206)

It’s common for congressional tax writers to use the individual filing deadline to highlight their views on tax administration, and the targeted bills are probably best viewed as a messaging exercise. They appear unlikely to be enacted in the near future.

The committee also used last week to continue its examination of member tax reform proposals. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., pitched a bill that would abolish the Internal Revenue Code by 2020 and require Congress to craft something simpler in its place. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, proposed sweeping reform legislation that would lower the corporate tax rate to 20% and the individual rate to 30%.

The Ways and Means Committee is expected to continue its tax reform hearings throughout the year and is still working on a possible international tax reform discussion draft. Most of the work is being done in hopes of a renewed effort for tax reform under a new president in 2017.

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