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Former Officials Warn Against Major IRS Revamp

A major restructuring could negatively affect the agency's key functions

A group of former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials warned Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin against a major restructuring of the agency in a Bloomberg BNA piece this week.

President Donald Trump signed the Taxpayer First Act into law on July 1, which includes a number of far-reaching reforms of the IRS aimed at improving customer service, modernizing the agency’s information technology and strengthening taxpayers’ recourses in enforcement cases. The law directs Mnuchin to provide a written IRS restructuring plan to Congress by Sept. 30, 2020.

Former IRS officials interviewed by Bloomberg BNA said some streamlining of processes could benefit the IRS but that a major restructuring could affect key functions of the agency.

“The more significant the reorganization, the longer it will take for the service to adjust and move forward,” said former IRS commissioner Mark Everson. “You shouldn’t have reorganization just for reorganization’s sake.”

Another former IRS commissioner, Lawrence Gibbs, told BNA that what the IRS needs most is adequate funding to address some of its performance shortfalls. The IRS is still recovering from years of budget cuts after reports in 2013 that the agency was more heavily scrutinizing certain conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.

The Taxpayer First Act was championed by Democrats and Republicans on the tax-writing committees earlier this year.

“The signing is the culmination of a lengthy, bipartisan process undertaken by the Ways and Means Committee to implement pro-taxpayer reforms at the IRS for the first time in more than 20 years,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal. “New protections for low-income taxpayers, practical enforcement reforms and upgraded assistance for taxpayers and small businesses will all now go into place.”

This article was provided to OSAE by the Power of A and ASAE's Inroads.

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