PAPER Act Legislation Requires IRS to Partially Reinstate Mailing of Paper Tax Forms
Consumers for Paper Options, a coalition of individuals and organizations advocating to preserve access to paper-based services and information, applauded the introduction of legislation that would partially reinstate the mailing of paper-based tax resources. The Personal Access to Paper Election Reform (PAPER) Act, which was introduced by Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mail paper forms and instructions to individuals who filed a paper return for the preceding tax year.
“The short-sighted IRS decision to stop mailing tax forms, even to citizens who still file by mail, has hurt millions of Americans, especially seniors and those living with disabilities,” said John Runyan, executive director of Consumers for Paper Options. “We hear from people across the country who simply don’t have the option to file tax returns online and have difficulty accessing the paper forms that are supposedly available at post offices and libraries. It’s time to amend the Internal Revenue Code to reflect this reality and make paper-based tax information automatically available to those who still need it.”
In an effort to cut costs and encourage the shift toward electronic tax filing, the IRS ended the mailing of paper tax forms in 2011—even for the more than 10 million citizens who still file by mail. While the IRS has said that the tax forms are available at post offices and public libraries, this is not necessarily true and can cause frustration for taxpayers who make unsuccessful trips to these facilities in search of these documents. The paperless policy also makes it difficult for citizens in rural areas who have no access to the Internet and are miles from nearby post offices and libraries, as well as seniors and Americans with disabilities who may have difficulty leaving their homes.