According to one critic,[who?], the first Taxpayer First Act of 2019, H.R. 1957 would make it illegal for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to create free tax preparation software in an effort to prop up businesses like TurboTax and H&R Block. The bill has bipartisan support. Its passage by the House of Representatives on April 9, 2019 was praised by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The legislation also addresses identity theft protection and taxpayer rights during an income tax audit. The bill includes a provision that will establish the IRS Independent Office of Appeals to resolve federal tax controversies without litigation.
The bill was criticized in news media as being overly biased in favor of for-profit tax filing services, and an investigation by ProPublica showed that companies which stood to benefit from the Free File provision, like H&R Block, tried to force taxpayers eligible to file for free into paying the company to file their taxes. As a result, congressional action on this version of the bill stalled in the Senate.
A second version of the Taxpayer First Act of 2019, H.R. 3151, was passed in the House by voice vote on 10 June 2019 with the sponsorship of original sponsor Rep. John Lewis. This version dropped the Free File provision from H.R. 1957. H.R. 3151 had the support of Sen. Chuck Grassley.