H.R. 4890, to impose a ban on the payment of bonuses to employees of the Internal Revenue Service until the Secretary of the Treasury develops and implements a comprehensive customer service strategy

H.R. 4890

to impose a ban on the payment of bonuses to employees of the Internal Revenue Service until the Secretary of the Treasury develops and implements a comprehensive customer service strategy

Committee
Ways and Means

Date
April 21, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Thursday, April 21, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4890, to impose a ban on the payment of bonuses to employees of the Internal Revenue Service until the Secretary of the Treasury develops and implements a comprehensive customer service strategy, under a structured rule. H.R. 4890 was introduced on April 11, 2016 by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), and was referred to the Committee on Ways Means, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, by a vote of 24-15 on April 13, 2016.

 

 

Bill Summary

H.R. 4890 places a ban on payment of bonuses to employees of the Internal Revenue Service until the Department of the Treasury submits to Congress a comprehensive customer service strategy that has been reviewed and approved by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The legislation requires the strategy to include:

  1. Appropriate telephone and correspondence levels of service;
  2. An assessment of which services the IRS can shift to self-service options; and
  3. Proposals to improve customer service over the short-term, medium-term, and the long-term.

Background

According to the Internal Revenue Service’s Strategic Plan for FY2014-2017, the delivery of high quality and timely service to reduce taxpayer burden and encourage compliance is identified as goal number one.[1] According to the Taxpayer Advocate, the IRS was only able to answer 37% of calls last year during the 2014 filing season, and those callers who managed to get through had to wait on hold an average of 23 minutes. This was a marked drop off compared to the 2013 filing season when 71% of calls were answered and there was an average hold time of 14 minutes.[2] The Commissioner of the IRS expects to answer between 47% and 50% of calls this year for the 2015 filing season.

—————
[1] See https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p3744.pdf at 22.
[2] See https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p3744.pdf at 9.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate is unavailable at this time. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that implementing H.R. 4890 would have no effect on Federal fiscal year budget receipts for the 2016-2026 period.

Amendments

  1. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) – Manager’s Amendment – This amendment clarifies that the Act shall be carried out using only funds that are appropriated
  2. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) – This amendment requires the Secretary of the Treasury or the Secretary’s delegate to consult with the National Taxpayer Advocate while developing the comprehensive customer service strategy.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.