House Passes Taxpayer Bill of Rights – Los Angeles Income Tax Planning and Income Tax Litigation Attorney Bruce Givner

by Bruce Givner on March 3, 2014

On February 25, 2014, the US House of Representatives passed a significant piece of legislation affecting both the IRS and American taxpayers. The two bills, both sponsored by Congressman Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), have been generally referred to as a “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” due to the fact that they aim to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from overreaching, especially when it comes to processing and scrutinizing politically active nonprofit groups.

The first of the two bills, H.R. 2530 or the “Taxpayer Transparency and Efficient Audit Act,” makes a few significant mandates. Firstly, the bill prevents the IRS from spending more than one year completing an audit. The bill also requires the IRS to inform taxpayers within 30 days if the agency shares their information with other government agencies, an action the bill’s sponsor claims to be illegal. Furthermore, the bill mandates a “30 day rule”, requiring the IRS to respond substantively in writing to taxpayer inquiries within 30 days.

The second bill, H.R. 2531 or the “Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act,” focuses on a much simpler objective. The bill prohibits the IRS from asking taxpayers sensitive questions regarding their religious, political, or social beliefs. The particular focus of the bill appears to be a direct response to the stories surrounding allegations about the IRS’s questioning of politically active non-profit organizations, which a number of commentators have labelled as being specifically biased against conservative groups.

Significantly, the bills have no corresponding legislation in the Senate. One representative, Danny Davis (D-Ill.), expressed skepticism about the first bill, arguing that it is simply unrealistic to expect the IRS to work faster at the same time Congress is cutting its budget. Rep. Davis added that in 2013 the IRS fielded more than 100 million phone calls while another 20 million went unanswered simply because the Service didn’t have enough employees to answer them. While lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have expressed their discontent regarding the IRS’s handling of certain applications for tax-exempt status, there appears to be no consensus at this time as to how best the Service should change its rules and operations in order to address the complaints.

Givner & Kaye focuses on sophisticated income tax planning and compliance, tax litigation and procedure, estate planning, and asset protection plans for individuals and businesses in Beverly Hills, Calabasas, West Los Angeles, Hollywood, and other areas of Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside and Santa Barbara Counties. Call Los Angeles Estate Planning and Asset Protection Plan Attorneys Givner & Kaye at (310) 207-8008 today.

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