Rep. John Lewis Introduces Three Tax Day Bills
In anticipation of Tax Day, falling this year on Monday, April 18th, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) introduced three common-sense tax policy improvements. These include H.R. 4912, the Taxpayer Protection Act of 2016; H.R. 4948, the Artist-Museum Partnership Act of 2016; and H.R. 4949, the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Tax Relief Act of 2016.
Improved Taxpayer Services and Protections
As the Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, Rep. Lewis introduced H.R. 4912, the Taxpayer Protection Act of 2016. This legislation responds to recent key National Taxpayer Advocate recommendations on how to improve taxpayer services. The Taxpayer Protection Act of 2016, sometimes referred to as a Taxpayer Bill of Rights, prescribes common-sense improvements to IRS services and includes certain good-governance provisions supported by other Ways and Means Committee Democratic Members. A full section-by-section description of the bill is attached, but some of the bill's key provisions include:
- Improvements to identity theft protections and services;
- Allowing the IRS to refer taxpayers to low-income taxpayer clinics;
- Enhanced EITC outreach; and
- A repeal of the tested-and-failed private tax-debt collection program that was resurrected in December 2015.
This legislation builds upon Rep. Lewis's previous bill, H.R. 4994, the Taxpayer Assistance Act, which was adopted by the House by a vote of 399-9 in 2010 but did not advance in the Senate.
Reasonable Tax Legislation
Rep. Lewis was joined by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) in introducing H.R. 4948, the Artist-Museum Partnership Act of 2016. The Artist-Museum Partnership Act would correct an imbalance in the tax code and allow the artists to take a tax deduction for the fair market value of the works that they donate. (more)
H.R. 4948 encourages American artists – including writers, composers, and the like – to donate their work to public institutions (such as schools, museums, and libraries), thus ensuring the preservation of American art for future generations. Without this provision many iconic American images fall into private hands, rarely seen by the public, or are sold to international museums. This bill allows America to benefit more and readily retain the work of their celebrated artists.
Unlike most other scholarships and fellowships, Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards are subject to federal taxation. This legislation would simply correct this inequity and reward these hardworking students, who voluntarily serve American communities, by allowing them to preserve their scholarship money and dedicate it to education, not taxes.
Help with Tax Preparation
Finally, as Americans prepare to file their taxes by April 18, Rep. Lewis offers, through this link, information that can help them head off recent scams. There are also many free tax preparation services and refundable credits for which they may qualify. Below is a list of links which highlight tax credits citizens should use fully to their advantage.