Lack of IRS Paper-Based Documents Harms Millions of Americans

American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Donna Harman issued the following statement regarding the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) denying paper-based information and services.

“The number of people who experienced identity theft while filing their taxes in 2016 is approximately the population of Anaheim, California or Tampa, Florida.[1] With news of data hacks and security breaches breaking regularly, government officials have increasingly turned to paper-based documents for added protection.

“Citizens will be complying with new tax rules this year. Unfortunately, the IRS no longer makes printed instructions available unless ordered for payment. Readily available, printed instructions will be needed more than ever before as people prepare their tax returns given these changes.

“Despite security concerns or the simple fact that many Americans don’t have access broadband at home, the IRS continues down its short-sighted path of forcing digital-only communication. Digital-only policies discriminate against millions of Americans, many of whom are in rural communities and/or low income households. Citizens should have a choice in how they receive important information and the option to file tax forms in the manner they most trust.”

BACKGROUND: The IRS no longer mails tax forms to U.S. taxpayers, discontinued sending the Tax Instruction Guide for individuals (Publication 17) through the mail, and stopped equipping libraries or post offices with the booklet for distribution. The only place to find the instructions on paper is through Government Printing Office, where a hard copy version can be ordered for $10.

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