Grassley makes progress in Washington

He co-authors key IRS reform law

Some politicians go to Washington and are rarely heard from again until it’s time to campaign for re-election. U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley is not one of those nearly invisible and mostly inconsequential officeholders. His hard work to influence for the better our nation’s future is often in the news.

With all the festivities concerning the Independence Day holiday, readers may not have noticed an important accomplishment the Iowa Republican achieved early this month. On July 1, President Donald Trump signed into law the Taxpayer First Act. This important bipartisan legislation was co-sponsored by Grassley and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. It enacts key U.S. Internal Revenue Service reforms that will make that agency better serve American taxpayers.

When Grassley and Wyden introduced this legislation in March of this year, the Iowan explained on the floor of the Senate his vision for the reform measure.

“This legislation seeks to modernize the IRS, improve taxpayer services and strengthen taxpayer protection,” he said. “The package of IRS reforms we introduce today is the culmination of years of work by both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. It’s truly a bipartisan package.”

The changes this law enacts are extensive. Among its key provisions are the following:

• Establishment of an independent office of appeals within the IRS.

• The requirement that the IRS submit a restructuring plan to Congress.

• Additional protection from identity theft is provided to taxpayers.

• The private debt collection system is modified to make it fairer.

Grassley has long worked to encourage government employees to report wrongdoing to the agency and Congress. In 2006, legislation he authored created a mandatory whistleblower program at the IRS. Unfortunately, employees who call out misdeeds and unfortunate policies are sometimes punished or ignored. The new legislation includes better protections for these public-spirited whistleblowers.

A major thrust of this reform measure is making the IRS an entity that puts genuine emphasis on customer service. Just about anyone who has had much interaction with IRS personnel will recognize that significant improvement in that regard is much-needed.

“This new law is a victory for taxpayers and its critical reforms are long overdue,” Grassley said in a statement released early this month.

The Messenger heartily agrees. We also recognize that without Grassley’s tireless efforts the reforms this law will bring about might never have been enacted.