H.R. 5420, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit the release of information regarding the status of certain investigations

H.R. 5420

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit the release of information regarding the status of certain investigations

Committee
Ways and Means

Date
September 16, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, September 16, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 5420, a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit the release of information regarding the status of certain investigations, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 5420 was introduced on September 9, 2014 by Representative Charles Boustany (R-LA).

Bill Summary

H.R.5420 amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit the release of information regarding the status of certain investigations involving the release of taxpayer information.  Under current law, taxpayers victimized by the leaking of their confidential tax information are barred from receiving any information about whether an investigation has been commenced and the disposition of the case.  This change authorizes the release of certain information to victims of this crime.  H.R. 5420 is necessary to ensure that victims of leaked taxpayer information are given rights similar to those of other crime victims.

Background

Since early 2011, the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform and Ways and Means have been investigating evidence of possible criminal wrong doing by IRS employees, including former employee Lois Lerner, as it relates to the targeting of individuals and conservative organizations. The investigations include the improper disclosure of confidential taxpayer information.  Appearing before the Committee on Ways and Means, representatives from the National Organization of Marriage (NOM) testified that the Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) declined to provide any information regarding its investigation of illegal disclosure of NOM’s confidential tax information because of the IRS’ interpretation of “return information” and the prohibition on the disclosure of confidential tax information. Specifically, TIGTA interprets the prohibition on disclosure to include investigations into IRS’ illegal activity, even to potential victims of the IRS actions. [1]

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[1] See http://waysandmeans.house.gov/uploadedfiles/eastman_testimony6413fc.pdf

Cost

According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, H.R. 5418 would have no effect on revenue.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.