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Administration introduces its own IRS restructuring bill.

Congressman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y) introduced, on behalf of the Clinton administration, a bill to improve the oversight and management of the Internal Revenue Service. The bill, the Internal Revenue Service improvement Act of 1997 (HP 2428), is intended to implement some of the recommendations of the National Commission on Restructuring the IRS; however, it differs significantly from the commission's recommendations regarding IRS management and governance.

The commission published its recommendations on June 25 (see "IRS Restructuring Commission Calls for Independent Oversight Board; Treasury Strongly Disagrees," JofA, Aug.97, page 21). Legislation HR 2292 and S 1087) already has been introduced in the House and Senate that implements most of the commission's recommendations, including the creation of an independent oversight board that would manage IRS operations (see "New IRS Restructuring Bill," Oct. jofA, p. 28, 1997). Although the Treasury Department agreed publicly that enhanced oversight of the IRS is desirable, it was critical of the commission's proposal to create an independent board, arguing that approach would remove the IRS from executive branch oversight.

The administration proposal calls for, instead of an independent board, a management board consisting of senior officials from the Treasury, the IRS and the Office of Management and Budget. The management board would work directly with the secretary of the IRS on its management and operations and be directly involved in decisions concerning modernization of the IRS and tax administration, including reorganization, budget, technology and personnel issues.

The bill also would make the current advisory board, composed of 14 individuals from outside the federal government, a permanent provision in the tax code. The advisory board would advise the IRS secretary and the management board on IRS management and operations, including ways to enhance the fairness of Internal Revenue Code administration.

The bill also would

* Establish a five-year term for the IRS commissioner.

* Streamline the electronic filing system by eliminating many statutory obstacles.

* Set multiyear funding for the IRS.

* Create a more flexible management environment for hiring and firing personnel.

* Require the Treasury secretary and deputy secretary to report to Congress annually on their stewardship of the IRS.

* Expand responsibilities and independence of the taxpayer advocate.

"This bill should be the basis of a bipartisan effort to create a more efficient, well-managed and responsive IRS," said Rangel in a statement. Cosponsors of the bill include William J. Coyne D-Pa.), Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Robert T. Matsui (D-Calif.).
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Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Date:Nov 1, 1997
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