Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act Introduced, Shows Commitment to Working Families
Long-time Congressional friends of VITA recently reintroduced legislation that serves as a complement to NCTC’s own VITA Act: the Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act of 2012.
Congressman Xavier Becerra of California introduced H.R. 6050 in the House, and Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico introduced S. 3352 in the Senate. The primary purpose of these identical, wide-ranging bills is to improve services and protect the rights of all taxpayers, particularly those with low or moderate incomes.
The VITA field and the working families who make use of its services should be glad to note that the Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act includes, among other things, a provision to authorize the VITA Matching Grant program at an annual amount of $35 million. Today, the appropriation totals $12 million.
In addition, this is the first time the Taxpayer Bill of Rights has called for giving providers the flexibility to use VITA Grant funds for some specific purposes beyond tax preparation, including asset-building and financial literacy services (a key component of the VITA Act).
Nina Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, summed the legislation up nicely: “It would establish a simple statement of taxpayer rights and obligations, confirm congressional support for regulating tax return preparers, protect taxpayers from unwarranted lien-filings that can destroy their financial viability and impair their future tax compliance, expand programs for low income taxpayers, and require the IRS to conduct studies designed to deliver refunds more quickly and thereby reduce the market for expensive refund-related products.” .
To Rep. Becerra and Sen. Bingaman and all of the lawmakers in Washington who are committed to the economic success of hardworking families, including our VITA Act chief sponsors Rep. Mike Honda and Sen. Sherrod Brown: NCTC and the community tax preparation field extend our thanks and gratitude for your work and dedication.
By Jennifer Thall, Coordinator of Civic Engagement