Curbelo, 54 Colleagues Ask House Appropriations Leaders to Protect Taxpayer Services in Budget Proposal

f t # e
Washington, D.C., March 30, 2017 | Joanna Rodriguez (202-225-2778) | comments

Representative Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, led a group of 55 bipartisan Members of Congress today to urge leaders of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services to protect Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Taxpayer Services. These programs include Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITC), Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), Taxpayer Advocate Service, and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) grants – all programs specifically targeted to ensure tax payers have access to services where they can confidently file returns without fear of being scammed by fraudulent preparers.

 

“As you begin work on the Fiscal Year 2018 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill we respectfully request that you provide increased funding for the Internal Revenue Service Office of Taxpayer Services, including the Community Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) grants, Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITC), and Taxpayer Advocate Service,” the members wrote. “The work being done with funds provided for Taxpayer Services is commendable and worthy of your full and fair consideration.”

 

“Funding for these essential services has received bipartisan support under both Republican and Democratic Administrations,” the members continued. “The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have continued to include strong funding for taxpayer services regardless of which party is in the majority. We appreciate your past support of these programs, and respectfully ask that you increase funding for the I.R.S. Office of Taxpayer Services programs in FY18, including Low Income Taxpayer Clinics, Community Volunteer Income Tax Assistance matching grants, Tax Counseling for the Elderly, and Taxpayer Advocate Service.  These programs have already proven to assist the most vulnerable in our country and we thank you for your consideration of this request.”

 

Curbelo previously urged President Trump to protect these services in his budget proposal.

 

The full text of the letter is available below and a PDF is available here.

 

March 27, 2017

 

The Honorable Tom Graves, Chairman                          

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government                             

2000 Rayburn HOB                                                

Washington, D.C. 20515                                        

 

The Honorable Mike Quigley, Ranking Member

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government

1016 Longworth HOB

Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Chairman Graves and Ranking Member Quigley:

 

As you begin work on the Fiscal Year 2018 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill we respectfully request that you provide increased funding for the Internal Revenue Service Office of Taxpayer Services, including the Community Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) grants, Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITC), and Taxpayer Advocate Service. The work being done with funds provided for Taxpayer Services is commendable and worthy of your full and fair consideration.

 

Both the VITA and TCE programs are specifically targeted to ensure tax payers have access to services where they can confidently file returns without fear of being scammed by fraudulent preparers. For example, VITA organizes IRS-certified volunteers who offer free tax services to individuals with an annual income of less than $54,000 and those with limited proficiency in English.  The number of tax returns prepared by the VITA program increased 100 percent between the 2014 (1.9 million) and 2016 (3.8 million) tax filing seasons. Of equal importance is the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program which specializes in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to taxpayers who are age 60 and older. TCE, like VITA, has served as an invaluable asset to numerous underserved communities and has played a prominent role in allowing a greater number of taxpayers to file electronically.  In the 2016 tax filing season, VITA and TCE programs filed more than 3.8 million Federal income tax returns.

 

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS that provides assistance to individuals, businesses, and tax-exempt organizations who need help navigating the IRS.  The Taxpayer Advocate Service administers the LITC, which leverage federal investment with private matching grants to assist vulnerable taxpayers. In 2016, over 138 grantees located in 49 states and the District of Columbia helped protect taxpayers who were low-income or had limited English proficiency better understand their rights and responsibilities.

  

Funding for these essential services has received bipartisan support under both Republican and Democratic Administrations. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have continued to include strong funding for taxpayer services regardless of which party is in the majority. We appreciate your past support of these programs, and respectfully ask that you increase funding for the I.R.S. Office of Taxpayer Services programs in FY18, including Low Income Taxpayer Clinics, Community Volunteer Income Tax Assistance matching grants, Tax Counseling for the Elderly, and Taxpayer Advocate Service.  These programs have already proven to assist the most vulnerable in our country and we thank you for your consideration of this request.

 

Cordially,

 

Carlos Curbelo (FL-26)

                                                                                   

Danny K. Davis (IL-07)

 

Alma S. Adams (NC-12)

 

Donald S. Beyer, Jr. (VA-08)

 

Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)

 

Julia Brownley (CA-26)

 

Tony Cárdenas (CA-29)

 

André Carson (IN-07)

 

Judy Chu (CA-27)

 

David N. Cicilline (RI-01)

 

Steve Cohen (TN-09)

 

Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11)

 

John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13)

 

Jim Costa (CA-16)

 

Joe Courtney (CT-02)

 

Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07)

 

Diana DeGette (CO-01)

 

John K. Delaney (MD-06)

 

Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11)

 

Neal Dunn, M.D. (FL-02)

 

Keith Ellison (MN-05)

 

Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18)

 

John Garamendi (CA-03)

 

Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03)

 

Brian Higgins (NY-26)

 

Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC)

 

Sheila Jackson Lee (CA-13)

 

Pramila Jayapal (WA-07)

 

Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr. (GA-04)

 

Joseph P. Kennedy, III (MA-04)

 

Ron Kind (WI-03)

 

John Katko (NY-24)

 

James R. Langevin (RI-02)

 

Barbara Lee (CA-13)

 

Sander M. Levin (MI-09)

 

John Lewis (GA-05)

 

Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08)

 

Gregory W. Meeks (NY-05)

 

Gwen S. Moore (WI-04)

 

Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10)

 

Mark Pocan (WI-02)

 

Jamie Raskin (MD-08)

 

John P. Sarbanes (MD-03)

 

Paul Tonko (NY-20)

 

Filemon Vela (TX-34)

 

Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07)

 

Ann Wagner (MO-02)

 

Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)

 

Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24)

 

John A. Yarmuth (KY-03)

 

Ben Ray Luján (NM-03)

 

Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8)

 

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27)

 

Tom Rice (SC-7)

 

Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1)

f t # e

Stay Connected

Use the form below to sign up for my newsletter and get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.