Summary: H.R.3838 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.3838. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (11/21/1991)

Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act of 1991 - Title I: Additional Safeguards to Protect Taxpayers' Rights - Subtitle A: Taxpayers' Advocate - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to establish in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the Office of Taxpayers' Advocate, headed by the Taxpayers' Advocate, appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. Requires the Office to: (1) assist taxpayers in resolving problems with the IRS; (2) identify areas in which taxpayers have problems in dealings with the IRS; (3) propose changes in the administrative practices of the IRS to mitigate such problems; and (4) identify potential legislative changes which may be appropriate to mitigate such problems. Requires the Taxpayers' Advocate to annually report to specified congressional committees on Office activities.

Requires the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to establish procedures requiring a formal response to all recommendations submitted to the Commissioner by the Taxpayers' Advocate.

Authorizes the terms of a Taxpayer Assistance Order to require the Secretary of the Treasury to take certain actions (currently, only to cease or refrain from taking such actions).

Subtitle B: Modifications to Installment Agreement Provisions - Requires prior notification to taxpayers under an installment agreement to pay tax liability before altering, modifying, or terminating such an agreement. Provides for administrative review of denials of requests for installment agreements.

Suspends the failure to pay penalty during any period an installment agreement is in effect.

Subtitle C: Interest - Extends from ten days to 21 days the period for which interest will not be imposed after notice and demand for payment, if such payment is less than $100,000.

Provides for the abatement of interest in the case of an assessment due to the error or delay of an IRS managerial act.

Increases the interest rate for overpayment of tax from two percent to three percent (making such rate equal to the interest rate for underpayment of tax).

Waives interest on all overpayments refunded within 45 days after a return is filed.

Subtitle D: Joint Returns - Requires separate deficiency notices in the case of a joint income tax return if the most recent data available to the IRS shows that such spouses did not file a joint return with each other.

Allows the disclosure of collection activities to an individual requesting such information in the case of a joint return where such individual is no longer married to or resides in the same household as the other joint filer.

Removes limitations on filing a joint return after filing separate returns.

Subtitle E: Collection Activities - Authorizes the Secretary, if it is determined to be in the best interest of the taxpayer and the United States, to: (1) withdraw a notice of a lien; (2) return property that has been levied upon; and (3) offer compromises in civil or criminal cases. Requires the Secretary, at the request of the taxpayer, to make reasonable efforts to notify credit reporting agencies and financial institutions of such withdrawal notice.

Subtitle E (sic): Erroneous and Fraudulent Information Returns - Requires payee statements to provide the phone number of the person providing payment.

Establishes civil damages for the fraudulent filing of information returns.

Requires the Secretary to take reasonable steps to corroborate the accuracy of an information return when making a determination of a deficiency by a third party, when such return is disputed by the taxpayer.

Subtitle F: Modifications to Penalty for Failure to Collect and Pay Over Tax - Declares that a person shall not be liable for any penalty for failure to collect and pay over tax if such person: (1) is not a significant owner, or highly compensated employee of the trade or business; (2) notifies the Secretary within ten days after such failure; and (3) such notification was before any notice by the Secretary with respect to such failure.

Requires the Secretary to disclose certain information where more than one person is liable for a penalty.

Subtitle G: Awarding of Costs and Certain Fees - Repeals the "substantially justified" test for determining whether a taxpayer may recover costs and fees incurred as part of an administrative or court proceeding.

Provides for the awarding of reasonable litigation or administrative costs to a prevailing party who represents himself in an administrative or court proceeding.

Makes IRS employees personally liable in certain cases.

Provides that any failure to agree to an extension of time for the assessment of any tax shall not be taken into account in determining whether a prevailing party has exhausted all administrative remedies.

Subtitle H: Other Provisions - Revises provisions on the required content of tax due, deficiency, and other notices.

Provides for the treatment of returns prepared for or executed by the Secretary for purposes of certain tax penalties.

Provides protection for taxpayers who rely on certain guidance published by the IRS.

Title II: Form Modifications, Studies - Subtitle A: Form Modifications - Directs the Secretary to: (1) ensure that taxpayers are aware of permission to pay tax in installments, extensions of time for payment of tax, and compromises of tax liability; (2) improve procedures for taxpayers to notify the Secretary of changes in names and addresses; (3) include in a specified publication a section on the rights and responsibilities of divorced individuals; (4) ensure that employees are aware of their responsibilities under the Federal tax system and that the public is aware of penalties for failure to collect and pay over tax; and (5) notify taxpayers any payments that cannot be associated with any outstanding tax liability.

Subtitle B: Studies - Requires the Secretary to report to the tax-writing committees on: (1) a pilot program for appeals of certain enforcement actions (including lien, levy, and seizure actions; (2) a study on ways to assist the elderly, physically impaired, foreign-language speaking, and other taxpayers with special needs to comply with IRS laws; (3) the scope and content of the IRS taxpayer-rights education program for its officers and employees; and (4) cases involving complaints about misconduct of IRS employees and the disposition of such complaints.

Requires the Comptroller General to report to the tax-writing committees on: (1) a study of notices of deficiency; (2) the accuracy and clarity of 25 of the most commonly used IRS forms, notices, and publications; and (3) a study of IRS employee-suggestion programs.