US lawmakers push IRS to adopt digital tax reforms

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is being pressed to adopt new online systems after the US House of Representatives passed legislation intended to introduce digital services and require the tax authority to appoint a chief information officer (CIO), in the wake of technical problems which saw the tax payments system crash on deadline day

The 21st Century IRS Act, introduced by Republican Congressman Mike Bishop, is part of a larger package of bills aimed to redesign and update the IRS for the first time in more than 20 years.

A 2016 Government Accountability Office report that two central legacy tax systems are among the oldest still in use in the federal government. The ‘individual master file’ and the ‘business master file’, both the ‘authoritative data source’ for individual and business taxpayer information were estimated to be around 58 years old, and the IRS is also still using fax systems.

The 21st Century IRS Act would require the IRS to develop an internet portal that would facilitate taxpayers filing Forms 1099 digitally beginning in 2020.

It establishes a new goal for the IRS to develop robust and secure online individual accounts for taxpayers and their preparers by the end of 2023, and to have online ways to directly accept credit and debit card payments for taxes.

The legislation also requires the US Treasury to work with private industry to find ways to use new payment platforms and increase the number of tax refunds delivered electronically.

It would also put into law the position of the CIO within the IRS, with a mandate to ‘develop and implement a multiyear strategic plan for the information technology needs’ of the agency.

In addition, the Bill, which passed with a vote of 414 for to 3 against, would also codify recent efforts of the IRS to foster a partnership with public and private stakeholders to combat tax-related identity theft.

The legislation will now be considered in the Senate.

Mike Bishop details on Bill

21st Century IRS Act

Report by Pat Sweet

Be the first to vote