The House unanimously passed a bill reworking components of the IRS, clearing the way for quick passage by the Senate.
The bill (H.R. 3151), passed June 10 by voice vote, excludes a provision codifying the IRS Free FIle program that stalled a previous version of the measure in the Senate. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has said that the Senate could pass the bill this week.
The legislation would modify the Internal Revenue Service appeals process, creating an independent Office of Appeals to resolve taxpayer disputes. The bill also would require the agency to submit a comprehensive customer service strategy to Congress within a year of the bill’s enactment and would bar the IRS from referring low-income taxpayers’ debt to private collection companies.
A version including the free-filing language (H.R. 1957) passed the House in April, but died in the Senate after some Democrats worried the language could keep the agency from offering its own free-filing service in the future. Their concerns grew following reporting from ProPublica that found companies like H&R Block tried to force taxpayers eligible to file for free into paying to file their taxes.
The IRS hired a consultant to review the Free File program, following the backlash. The program allows taxpayers earning less than $66,000 to file taxes for free.
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