Ways and Means members today voted to pass three bills that will protect children and taxpayer identity. As Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said at the start of the mark up:
“We’re here today to advance more commonsense solutions that make sure the IRS is serving all Americans – not working against them … Simply put, these proposals put the best interests of children and taxpayers first.”
The Committee first unanimously passed the Recovering Missing Children Act (H.R. 3209), which will help local law enforcement agencies find missing or exploited children using information from the IRS. As bill sponsor Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) said:
“According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, more than 200,000 children are abducted by family members every year … We owe it to these children to make sure that law enforcement agencies have every tool at their disposal to effectively investigate and solve these crimes … The bipartisan [legislation includes] missing children cases as an acceptable instance when law enforcement, with a warrant, can work with the IRS to secure tax information crucial to solving a crime.”
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), who was the King County, Washington, Sheriff before serving in Congress, expressed his support for the legislation. Describing his experience investigating missing children cases, he said:
“I can’t say enough about what law enforcement will say and how much they appreciate the effort that Mr. Paulsen and the others supporting this legislation feel … The resources across this country are scarce. This is a tool that is absolutely needed, necessary, and will be much appreciated not only by law enforcement but by every family who is suffering with the disappearance and loss and kidnap and exploitation of their child.”
The Committee next passed the Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act (H.R. 5053). The legislation will protect taxpayers’ identities by eliminating a superfluous IRS form, known as the Schedule B, that the IRS has used to improperly target tax-exempt organizations. As bill sponsor Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) said:
“This bill prohibits the IRS from collecting donor information on the schedule B form … The Schedule B is not needed for taxpayer administration. In fact, the IRS has indicated they were considering eliminating the requirement themselves. Tax exempt groups should not be forced to expend precious resources on unnecessary documentation and tax administration rather than focusing on their charitable missions. The IRS has not demonstrated the capacity to safeguard confidential information in the past. There is no reason we should send them any more sensitive information than they need to do their job.”
The final legislation passed by the Committee today was the Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Prevention Act (H.R. 3832). Bill sponsor Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH), who had his identity stolen during Tax Season last year, noted:
“Tax-related ID theft is an evolving criminal activity that targets innocent taxpayers nationwide and robs the Treasury of billions of dollars each year. While I am aware that not every tax-related ID theft problem is best served with a Congressional solution, this legislation is an important step in fighting ID theft and better protecting victims.”
The Committee unanimously approved the Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Prevention Act after adopting several amendments offered by Reps. Lewis (D-GA) and Pascrell (D-NJ).
For more information about the legislation passed by the Committee today, click here.