Weekly Legislative Update April 11, 2022

TIA Representatives Meet with NTSB Chair
TIA representatives recently had an opportunity to meet with Jennifer Homendy, Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board.
 
On Aug. 13, Jennifer L. Homendy was sworn in as NTSB’s 15th Chair after being nominated on May 20 by President Biden and confirmed by the Senate on August 9. Before becoming Chair, Homendy first joined NTSB as its 44th Board member on Aug. 20, 2018. She was unanimously reconfirmed by the Senate on August 1, 2019, for a five-year term expiring December 31, 2024.
 
Chair Homendy is a tireless advocate for safety. From 2004 to 2018, she served as the Democratic Staff Director of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials, which is under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I Committee) of the United States House of Representatives.
 
Throughout her tenure on the T&I Committee, she was an unwavering defender of transportation safety and worked to implement numerous safety recommendations proposed by the NTSB. In 2017 and 2018, she led a multimodal review of DOT’s drug and alcohol testing program that identified significant safety gaps in the program.
 
TIA was attending the Washington Briefing Session of The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Homendy and TIA share a passion for safety and we hope to explore opportunities to work together in the future. 
     
House Passes H.R. 3807, Relief For Restaurants And Other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act
 
By vote of 223 to 203, the House on April 7th passed H.R. 3807, Relief for Restaurants and other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act of 2022.
 
Six Republicans voted with 217 Democrats to pass the bill.
 
H.R. 3807 now goes to the Senate for consideration by the Finance and Small Business committees around April 25th, when Congress returns from a two-week recess. 
     
Senators Cardin and Wicker Announce Introduction Of Senate Bill S. 4088 For Financial Relief Of Restaurants And Other Hard Hit Small Businesses
On April 7, Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Chairman Ben Cardin (D-MD), together with Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss), introduced S. 4088, the Senate alternative to the $55 billion House bill, H.R. 3807, which passed the House in a different form (H.R. 3807).
 
Senators Cardin and Wicker have been committed to this project since last year, and after months of sounding out restaurant and small business leaders, they believe the bill introduced is their best shot for passage by the Senate, especially if they can find additional funds to make the bill fully paid-for.
 
Clearly, the House and Senate bills must be reconciled through discussions during the break.
 
There’s no insuperable obstacle to House and Senate Democrats coming together on a bill. What’s important is negotiating commitments of at least ten Republican senators required to pass the bill, and Cardin and Wicker are negotiating.
     
Taxpayer Experience Office formally established to improve service across the IRS
As part of a longer-term effort to improve taxpayer service, the IRS has officially established the first-ever Taxpayer Experience Office and will soon begin taking additional steps to expand the effort.
 
“As the IRS continues taking immediate steps this filing season including adding more employees to address the significant challenges facing a resource-constrained IRS, it’s critical that we work going forward to equip the IRS to be a 21st century resource for Americans,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “The formal establishment of this office will help unify and expand efforts across the IRS to improve service to taxpayers.”
 
The Taxpayer Experience Office will focus on all aspects of taxpayer transactions with the IRS across the service, compliance and other program areas, working in conjunction with all IRS business units and coordinating closely with the Taxpayer Advocate Service. The office is part of the effort envisioned in the Taxpayer First Act Report to Congress last year.
 
This included input and feedback from taxpayers, tax professionals and the tax community that helped develop the Taxpayer Experience Strategy. The Report to Congress identified over a hundred different programs and tools that would help taxpayers, including a 360-degree view of taxpayer accounts, expanded e-File and payment options, digital signatures, secure two-way messaging and online accounts for businesses and tax professionals.
 
To help drive the IRS strategic direction for improving the taxpayer experience, the Taxpayer Experience Office has identified key activities the IRS is focusing on over the next five years, including those commitments outlined in the President’s Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government.
 
“The IRS is committed to customer experiences that meet taxpayers where they are, in the moments that matter most in people’s lives and in a way that delivers the service that the public expects and deserves,” said Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer Ken Corbin, who also serves as the commissioner of the Wage and Investment division, which oversees the current filing season and other activities.
 
The Taxpayer Experience Office will identify changing taxpayer expectations and industry trends, focus on customer service best practices, and promote a consistent voice and experience across all taxpayer segments by developing agency-wide taxpayer experience guidelines and expectations. The office will be adding staff in the coming months to help support the effort.
 
“Whether checking the status of a tax return, meeting with a revenue agent for an audit, or receiving a tax credit to their bank account, improving service delivery and customer experience are fundamental priorities for us,” Corbin said. “We’re committed to designing and delivering services that better connect with our diverse taxpayer base.”
 
Some of the areas of improvement in the near-term include expanding customer callback, expanded payment options, secure two-way messaging and more services for multilingual customers. These activities build on recent improvements such as digital tools to support Economic Impact Payments and the Advance Child Tax Credit, online chat and online tax professional account.