Providing Internal Revenue Service Publication 17 Free to Taxpayers

Floor Speech

Date: April 19, 2016
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Taxes


Mr. BENISHEK. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H. Res. 673, a commonsense bill that expresses the support of Congress for having the IRS continue to provide taxpayers with a paper copy of instructions on how to file their taxes.

I thank Representative Grothman for introducing this resolution and for giving us the opportunity to discuss this important issue during tax week.

I hear from constituents all the time about how difficult it is to access paper tax forms, let alone how hard it is to file their taxes. Every year, millions of people continue to file their taxes on paper, but, every year, the IRS continues to make this process even more difficult.

As the IRS has transitioned to preferring an electronic filing system, many of my constituents are getting left behind. Not everyone is easily able to get access to paper forms on their own. The response that my constituents receive when they ask for help from the IRS is that all of the forms are easily available online. Unfortunately, more than 25 percent of all Americans lack regular or easy access to the Internet, and over 50 percent of seniors do not own a computer. Other people just want to file by paper. We need to preserve this option.

Beyond the accessibility concerns, we hear more and more about the dangers of electronic data security and tax fraud--dangers which are exacerbated by e-filing. Many of my constituents want to avoid these threats to their personal information, and the IRS is actively hindering them from taking sensible precautions.

I actually introduced legislation--the PAPER Act--in this Congress, which would require the IRS to send filing instructions and tax forms in paper format if someone traditionally files his taxes by paper. This seems pretty easy to me. While many of my constituents have concerns about how complicated their taxes are or about how high their rates are, they want to pay their taxes. We should not be keeping them from doing so.

I urge all of my colleagues to support this simple resolution. I think, if the IRS would stop going after individuals about their politics, they would have plenty of money with which to send out the forms.