HEARING ADVISORY: Boustany Announces Hearing on Improper Payments in the Administration of Refundable Tax Credits

May 26, 2011 — Hearing Advisory   

Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., MD, (R-LA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Committee on Ways and Means, today announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on improper tax payments in the administration of refundable tax credits.  The hearing will take place on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, in Room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 10:30 A.M.

In view of the limited time available to hear witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only.  However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.  A list of invited witnesses will follow.

While some tax credits reduce a taxpayer’s liability to zero, refundable credits can also result in a taxpayer receiving money from the government even if they have paid no taxes.  In recent years, the number and dollar amount of improper payments arising from refundable tax credits has been increasing at an alarming pace.  Over the last few years, the rampant abuse and misapplication of these credits has cost taxpayers an estimated $106 billion.
Despite this alarming abuse of taxpayer dollars, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has noted that the IRS has made little progress in reducing improper payments since being required to report these figures to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget.  In fact, the Government Accountability Office reported that in 2010, the EITC was the fourth largest source for improper payments among all federal government programs, with an estimated $16.9 billion in improper payments.
In announcing the hearing, Chairman Boustany said, “At a time of record level federal deficits, the last thing the government can afford is to be hemorrhaging tens of billions of dollars in improper payments.  The Subcommittee needs to understand the current levels of waste, fraud, and abuse and what can be done to prevent billions of dollars of improper payments each year.”

The hearing will focus on the administration of refundable tax credits, with an emphasis on the level of improper payments attributable to refundable credits, and steps the IRS is taking to reduce the level of waste, fraud, and abuse related to these credits.
Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit written comments for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms.  From the Committee homepage, https://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.”  Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Click here to provide a submission for the record.”  Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information.  Attach your submission as a Word document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by the close of business on Wednesday, June 8, 2011.  Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings.  For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-3625 or (202) 225-5522.

The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.  As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee.  The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines.  Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below.  Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

  1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.

  2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased.  All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

  3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears.  A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.

The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities.  If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested).  Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.

Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov/.