Americans Deserve a Simpler, Fairer Tax System

Today is tax day, a day that many Americans have come to fear and loathe. As the current administration has drastically increased spending, many on the left have demanded more and more taxes to pay for this excessive spending.

I believe Texas families and job creators are better off when government lets people keep more of what they earn. To that end, I plan to support several measures in the House of Representatives this week to lower the tax burden on Americans and move toward a simpler, fairer system.

Taxes like the death tax are the reason why families can face taxes as high as 40 percent after the death of a loved one. These taxes are the reason why many family farms and small businesses must be sold, and are also part of the reason why 70 percent of businesses do not survive to the second generation.

I’ll also support a bill this week to restore the expired sales tax deduction and make it a permanent part of our tax code. This deduction is important since it would allow as many as 1 in 5 Americans, who live in states like Texas that do not have an income tax, to deduct sales tax on their federal tax returns. This change has the potential to save Texans billions of dollars.

And finally, we’ll take further actions to hold the IRS accountable for recent scandals and to restore protections for taxpayers. I am pleased to support the Taxpayer Bill of Rights to ensure taxpayers have basic legal protections when dealing with our nation’s tax enforcers, such as: the right to quality service, confidentiality, and the right to appeal an IRS decision and have their challenge be heard. This runaway federal agency must be reined in and reminded that they are here to serve the American people, and not the other way around.

So as you sit down to finish your taxes this week, know that I am committed to improving our tax system for hardworking Americans like you. You deserve a simpler, fairer tax system.

Below is a complete list of tax measures Smith plans to support this week in the House of Representatives:

Repealing the Death Tax
Rep. Kevin Brady’s (R-Texas) Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015 would put an end to this tax which takes up to 40 percent of a family member’s estate upon their death and has been cited as the reason for loss of family farms and businesses.

Restoring the Right to Deduct State and Local Sales Tax
Rep. Kevin Brady’s (R-Texas) State and Local Sales Tax Deduction Fairness Act of 2015 would allow Americans living in states like Texas to once more deduct sales tax in the place of state income tax on their federal returns. This could result in billions of dollars in savings for Texans.

A Taxpayer Bill of Rights
Rep. Roskam’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act would provide taxpayers with some basic protections under the law, including the right to quality service, the right to confidentiality, and the right to appeal and have their challenge be heard. “After a difficult period for the IRS,” National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson says, “a Taxpayer Bill of Rights has the potential to restore taxpayers’ trust in both the IRS and the tax system.”

Keeping Federal Employees Accountable
Currently, more than 100,000 federal employees owe more than $1 billion in tax debt to the federal government. Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (R-Utah) Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2015 would give agency heads the ability to fire federal employees with seriously delinquent tax debts and would also prevent the federal government from hiring individuals with seriously delinquent tax debts.

Make Targeting a Firing Offense
The Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act, authored by Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH), would authorize the IRS to terminate employees who engage in political targeting. We now know that the IRS rehired hundreds of employees who were previously fired for misconduct issues.

No Personal Email for Official IRS Business
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton isn’t the only high-level Obama administration official to use personal e-mail for official business. Lois Lerner also engaged in the practice, and the IRS has no outright ban on e-mailing outside its network. Rep. Kenny Marchant has (R-TX) introduced legislation to end this practice at the IRS.

An Impartial, Two-Way Process
Nonprofit organizations deserve a balanced, impartial, review process that is free from political influence when they apply for tax exempt status. In addition to being freed from one-sided targeting, nonprofit organizations seeking tax-exempt status deserve an impartial application review process. Legislation introduced by Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA) would allow a nonprofit the ability to directly petition the IRS and get a fair hearing if their initial application is turned down.

The Right to Know
The Taxpayer Knowledge of IRS Investigations Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), would give taxpayers the right to know the status of investigations pertaining to their personal information. This is a necessary safeguard. We now know that Lois Lerner’s division shared highly confidential tax-exempt applications with an outside organization as well as the FEC.

No More Indefinite Delays
The IRS Bureaucracy Reduction and Judicial Review Act, authored by Rep. George Holding (R-NC), would allow organizations to declare their tax-exempt status rather than wait for bureaucratic approval. One retired IRS veteran has admitted that the agency made many nonprofit organizations wait years to be granted tax-exempt status, without any resolution.

Fair Treatment For All Gifts
As part of its effort to target Americans for their political beliefs, the IRS has threatened to apply a gift tax to donations to nonprofit organizations. Rep. Roskam’s (R-Ill.) Fair Treatment for All Gifts Act will prevent this abuse of power by ensuring that all donations to nonprofit organizations are tax-free.

Keeping Federal Contractors Accountable
Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (R-Utah) Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2015 would ensure no new government contracts are awarded to those with seriously delinquent tax debts.

IRS Bureaucracy Reduction and Judicial Review
Rep. George Holding’s (R-NC) bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code so that social welfare organizations that plan to operate as tax-exempt entities have 60 days to notify the IRS of their intent, and are allowed to request a declaratory judgment from the agency about its classification as tax-exempt.


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