Part of the IRS building (Image: Allison Bell/ALM)

A bill that redesigns the Internal Revenue Service looks ready to be signed into law soon, as both the House and Senate re-passed the Taxpayer First Act of 2019 this week.

The Taxpayer First Act of 2019, which has bipartisan support, originally passed the full House on April 2 and included a “free-file” provision prohibiting the IRS from creating a free tax-preparation software and thus competing with the tax-preparation industry. Lawmakers reintroduced a new version of the bill, H.R. 3151, however, that excludes that provision, which the House again passed on Tuesday and the Senate passed on Thursday.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., and ranking member Kevin Brady, R-Texas, released a joint statement Thursday stating that “after years of good-faith, bipartisan work, our IRS reforms are finally going to become law.”

The reforms, they said, “authorize the restructuring of the entire IRS in order to better serve taxpayers. We require the IRS to focus on customer service and reign in some of the agency’s enforcement tools. And we provide the agency with needed tools to bring its IT infrastructure into the 21st century.”

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in a separate statement that “Americans interact with the IRS more than any other federal agency.”

Passage of the Taxpayer First Act “will modernize the agency, allowing it to better serve taxpayers,” including “critical provisions to improve customer service, protect personal data, preserve tax-preparation services and shield low-income taxpayers from abusive private debt collectors.”

Going forward, Wyden said, “I will be closely tracking the IRS review of the Free File program and working to achieve a public filing program run by the IRS.”

Among the bill’s 45 changes to the IRS includes creating an independent appeals process, strengthening the IRS’ ability to proactively combat identity theft tax refund fraud, and improving the taxpayer experience across the IRS’ suite of taxpayer services.

— Check out House Passes Bill to Redesign IRS on ThinkAdvisor.