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October 10, 1997

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Comprehensive IRS Reform Plan

President Clinton announces comprehensive IRS reform plan expanding taxpayer service and IRS accountability

Their [Vice President Al Gore's and Treasury Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin's] initiatives will take significant steps toward ending abuses, protecting taxpayers and making the IRS more customer-friendly. Their recommendations are strong and sound, and I believe represent the right way to reform the IRS. I'm instructing that they be put into effect just as soon as possible, and I'm asking Congress to pass legislation where necessary to make them the law of the land.

-- President Bill Clinton

President Clinton today unveiled a comprehensive plan to help American taxpayers based on the principles of reinvention, rights, recourse and strengthening oversight. The President's reform plan calls for improving customer service, giving taxpayers new ways to solve problems, expanding taxpayer rights and remedies, and creating a new IRS board of trustees. The plan is based on recommendations made by Vice President Al Gore and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin resulting from the National Performance Review of the IRS they launched in May.

REINVENTION: Improving Customer Service
President Clinton's IRS reform plan will reinvent the IRS so that it serves its customers -- the taxpayers -- every bit as well as the best private companies serve their customers. Improvements include: ending the use of dollar goals to evaluate IRS employee performance, trimming paperwork, keeping IRS offices open on Saturdays during the filing season, making sure phones at the IRS get answered, and expanding electronic filing.

RIGHTS: Expanding Taxpayer Rights and Remedies
President Clinton called on Congress to pass the "Taxpayer Bill of Rights 3," building on a law he signed last year. Among other things, this new bill will extend the refund period for taxpayers with health problems that keep them from seeking refunds, make it easier for "innocent spouses" to get relief, and allow more taxpayers to make their payments in installments.

RECOURSE: Giving New Ways to Solve Problem
President Clinton's plan gives taxpayers who feel they've been unfairly treated greater recourse to solve their problems. The President proposed expanding the power of the Taxpayer Advocate so that it can issue immediate relief to taxpayers and creating 33 new independent, local Citizen Advocacy Panels to help taxpayers ensure that their problems and complaints are addressed.

STRENGTHEN IRS OVERSIGHT: Creating a New IRS Board of Trustees
In order to strengthen the public accountability of the IRS, President Clinton proposed creating a new IRS Board of Trustees with a majority of private sector members appointed by the President. The Board would provide strategic advice to the Secretary of the Treasury on long-term planning, performance measures, customer service and Citizens Advocacy Panel recommendations. The Board would report independently and at least annually to the Secretary, the President and the Congress.

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