U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) today introduced a legislation aimed at protecting taxpayers in New Mexico and across the country from predatory tax filing practices. Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) introduced an identical measure in the House of Representatives. Senator Tom Udall is a cosponsor of the bill.
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act combines several widely supported provisions aimed at protecting the rights of American taxpayers and supporting programs that help low-income tax filers. Bingaman and Becerra first introduced the bill in 2010.
"This bill requires IRS to inform Americans of their basic rights as taxpayers, such as the right to receive assistance and the right to appeal IRS decisions. It also lends support to preparation services, like Tax Help New Mexico, which helps thousands of taxpayers in our state file returns," said Bingaman, who is a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee.
"The Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act will help improve taxpayer services for all of America's working families," Rep. Becerra said. "By clarifying taxpayer rights and responsibilities, increasing access to competent and professional tax preparation services, and improving taxpayer interaction with the IRS, this legislation helps enhance the ability of taxpayers to meet their obligations."
"For many Americans, navigating the tax code can be a confusing and daunting task," said Udall. "I'm pleased to join with Sen. Bingaman and Rep. Becerra on legislation to improve taxpayer protections by strengthening a program that helps low-income families file and protects all filers from refund anticipation loans that can charge a typical interest rate of 149 percent."
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act would:
Require the IRS to publish a Taxpayer Bill of Rights that clarifies all American taxpayers' rights and obligations;
Support tax preparation programs (such as the nationally recognized Tax Help New Mexico, administered by Central New Mexico Community College), and representation clinics (such as UNM Law School's Low-Income Tax Clinic);
Enhance oversight of paid tax return preparers and refund anticipation loan products;
Enhance low-income taxpayers' access to financial institutions;
Direct the IRS to improve taxpayer services.