President Trump Signs Taxpayer First Act

Carolyn Kaster/AP

The law will force the IRS to improve its customer experience while providing tools to move faster in hiring.

The experience for millions of taxpayers is about to change.

On Monday, President Trump signed the Taxpayer First Act, which directs the IRS to develop and submit a “comprehensive customer service strategy” to Congress containing short-, medium- and long-term plans to make the customer experience for taxpayers resemble the kinds of experiences they receive in the private sector.

In an Oval Office signing, President Trump called the bill a “tremendous thing for our citizens.” The bill was introduced by Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who chairs the House Ways & Means oversight subcommittee.

Among other things, the bill’s mandated customer service strategy would “provide assistance to taxpayers that is secure, designed to meet reasonable taxpayer expectations, and adopts appropriate best practices of customer service provided in the private sector, including online services, telephone call back services, and training of employees providing customer services,” the bill states.

The law also gives the IRS the ability to hire temporary employees who specialize in IT, which has been a problem for the talent-stretched tax-collecting agency. The law gives the IRS streamlined critical pay, which the IRS previously had from 1998 to 2013. Under the authority, the IRS can hire up to 40 people in technical positions at once to four-year stints, and provides the agency the ability to pay those employees higher base salaries than they otherwise could. 

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