Wyden Urges Treasury, IRS to Protect Taxpayers from Consequences of Trump Shutdown
IRS is operating with limited staff, which could cause refund delays and leave taxpayers vulnerable to identity theft during the 2019 filing season
Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today asked Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig for details on how the Trump shutdown is impacting taxpayer assistance, cybersecurity practices and IRS operations overall.
Treasury and IRS have informed the Senate Finance Committee that a shutdown contingency plan outlining IRS’ operating procedures will be released soon. A bipartisan briefing for Senate Finance Committee staff with senior Treasury and IRS officials is expected to follow the release of that plan.
Wyden asked for answers to the following questions in a letter to Secretary Mnuchin and Commissioner Rettig:
Will taxpayers’ refunds be delayed as a result of the shutdown? If so, by how many days or weeks on average?
Will IRS be able to hire seasonal employees to help with the timely processing of tax returns? If not – or if the shutdown limits how many seasonal employees IRS can hire – what measures will be taken to ensure delays do not occur?
Will IRS be able to process paper returns and issue tax refunds without a delay for taxpayers, like seniors and low-income families, without access to electronic filing?
Will taxpayers who require IRS call assistance to complete their returns get to speak to a live person to have their questions answered in a timely way?
Is there increased risk of taxpayer ID theft if IRS tries to maintain normal operations during a shutdown? For example, if IRS is working with a skeleton staff as a result of the shutdown, is there an elevated risk that cyber criminals filing fraudulent returns with stolen taxpayer identities will be able to steal taxpayers’ refunds? Will IRS be able to detect, let alone thwart, these fraudulent attempts?
What about fraudulent tax return preparers who attempt to over-claim tax benefits on behalf of their clients? Or unscrupulous preparers who attempt to charge their clients usurious rates of interest in return for receiving their tax refunds right away? Will the shutdown hurt IRS efforts to police such practices?
Will the IRS continue to send automatic computer-generated collection and audit notices to taxpayers? How will the IRS alleviate the concerns of taxpayers who have responded to collection and audit notices but, due to the shutdown, not received any notification from the IRS? Further, how will the IRS adjust the deadlines imposed on taxpayers for responding to collection and audit notices, to ensure taxpayers are not penalized only because the shutdown is preventing the IRS from processing their responses?
Wyden Will Hold Town Halls in 12 Oregon Counties
Senator’s open-to-all meetings will be in Benton, Linn, Clackamas, Polk, Wasco, Hood River, Jackson, Josephine, Multnomah, Crook, Jefferson and Deschutes counties
[no town hall meetings are currently scheduled for Klamath County]
Portland – Senator Ron Wyden will hold town halls starting next week in 12 counties throughout Oregon.
Heading into these 12 town halls between Jan. 18-26, Wyden has held 920 town halls statewide overall since promising Oregonians that he would hold at least one annual town hall in each of the state’s 36 counties.
“Throwing open the doors of government and listening to the Oregonians I’m proud to represent is a must,” said Wyden, who recently won a second straight MVP award from the Town Hall Project for holding the most town halls of any senator in 2018. “These open-to-all town hall meetings allow any person to ask a question or share an idea. These conversations are part of what I call the ‘Oregon Way’ leading to solutions that work.”
Wyden’s town hall schedule is as follows:
Friday, Jan. 18
Benton County: 1:30 pm, Monroe High School, the new gym, 365 N. 5th St., Monroe
Saturday, Jan. 19
Linn County: 3 pm, Russell Tripp Performance Center, Linn-Benton Community College, Ellingson Rd SW, Albany (Best access is off Allen Blvd.)
Sunday, Jan. 20
Polk County: 1 pm, Nesmith Readiness Center, 12830 Westview Drive, Dallas
Clackamas County: 4:30 pm, Camp Withycombe, 15300 Minuteman Way, Clackamas
Monday, Jan. 21
Hood River County: 3:30 pm, Hood River Middle School auditorium, 1602 May St, Hood River
Tuesday, Jan. 22
Wasco County: 10 am, Dufur School, 802 NE 5th St., Dufur
Wednesday, Jan. 23
Jackson County: 10am North Medford High School auditorium, 1900 N Keene Way Drive, Medford
Josephine County: 1:40 pm Hidden Valley High School gym, 651 Murphy Creek Rd, Grants Pass
Thursday, Jan. 24
Multnomah County: 6 pm, PCC Performing Arts Center, Sylvania campus, 12000 SW 49th Ave, Portland
Friday, Jan. 25
Crook County: 6 pm, Crook County High School Auditorium, 1100 SE Lynn Boulevard, Prineville
Saturday, Jan. 26
Jefferson County: 11 am, Madras Performing Arts Center, 412 Buff Street, Madras
Deschutes County: 3 pm Summit High School gym, 2855 NW Clearwater Dr., Bend
Press release provided from the office of US Senator Ron Wyden.