NASHVILLE - Republicans U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher today announced plans to team up on a bill requiring the federal government notify taxpayers when the Internal Revenue Service accesses their tax returns or other information.
Alexander and Fincher said in a news release the IRS Abuse Protection Act is intended to protect taxpayers from "IRS abuses" and help safeguard their rights following the IRS' targeting of conservative and other groups seeking nonprofit, tax-exempt status.
“The IRS violated the First Amendment rights of the American people when it created what amounted to an enemies list of conservatives, including Tennessee Tea Party groups, to keep people quiet," Alexander said.
Fincher said "Americans are losing faith in the government as they're watching the IRS play politics."
The bill would require the secretary of the U.S. Treasury notify taxpayers, in writing, each time the IRS accesses their tax accounts, tax returns or other tax return information.
The notice must include who accessed the information, the purpose of doing so and how the information was accessed. Taxpayers would also receive a copy of the information accessed, and any report issued on how it was used.
Alexander is up for reelection next year. A Tea Party Republican who has weighed a GOP primary challenge against Alexander is former Williamson County Republican Party chairman Keven Kookogey, who complained before a congressional committee in June that his efforts to gain nonprofit status for his Linchpins of Liberty group drew excessive scrutiny.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...