To mark tax day on April 15th, U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) introduced the Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act, a robust package of reforms to protect the rights of U.S. taxpayers. Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) introduced an identical measure in the House of Representatives.
The Act combines several widely supported provisions, which would:
- Require the IRS to publish a Taxpayer Bill of Rights that clarifies all American taxpayers’ rights and obligations;
- Support tax preparation programs through the codification of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (authorized at $30 million in the legislation);
- Enhance oversight of paid tax return preparers and refund anticipation loan products; and
- Enhance low-income taxpayers’ access to financial institutions.
Nina Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, praised the Bingaman-Becerra bill. "The Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act of 2010 incorporates many proposals I have made and would substantially benefit our nation's taxpayers. It would establish a simple statement of taxpayer rights and obligations, show congressional support for regulating tax return preparers, protect taxpayers from unwarranted lien-filings that can destroy their financial viability and impair their future tax compliance, expand programs for low income taxpayers, and require the IRS to conduct studies designed to deliver refunds more quickly and thereby reduce the market for Refund Anticipation Loans," Olson said.
Olson testified about these issues last week at a Senate Finance Committee hearing. Bingaman and Becerra have long worked together to champion the rights of taxpayers – particularly those with low and moderate incomes.
Joining Bingaman in introducing his bill as cosponsors are Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Senator John Kerry (D-MA); Robert Menendez (D-NJ); Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI); Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH); Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT); Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT); Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR); Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR); and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM).
A summary can be found at: http://bingaman.senate.gov/mediaasset/taxpayerbor.pdf.