Senate Finance Committee 10 February 2016 Hearing

 

On February 10, 2016, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen appeared before the Senate Finance Committee to address “The President’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget.  The record of that hearing is found at:  http://www.finance.senate.gov/hearings/the-presidents-fiscal-year-2017-budget

In response to the Committee’s invitation to do so, the following Statement for the Record was submitted on behalf of The Federation of Genealogical Societies. FGS Statement for Record SFC Hearing 10 Feb 2016 Final2

In commending the IRS for the effectiveness of the filters they have developed in an effort to thwart tax fraud by identity theft, perhaps the major point is that by so doing the IRS had already accomplished any possible benefit that might have been accomplished by the limitations on access to and content of the Death Master File provided by Section 203 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 even before it was signed in late December 2013.  All that remained was the burden placed upon legitimate users of this resource.

Executive Summary

“We add our commendations to those offered in the opening statement by Chairman Hatch by noting that the IRS has dramatically improved its ability to intercept tax fraud by identity theft (especially those using the SSNs of deceased individuals.) We ask Senators to revisit the wisdom of limiting access to and the content of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File. While commending the work of the Department of Commerce in crafting regulations implementing Section 203 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, as written, we suggest areas where changes in legislative language might enhance the ability to (1) achieve the stated goal of reducing the opportunities for identity theft, and (2) minimize the unintended adverse consequences of limiting access and content available to legitimate users. Further question whether these provisions belong in permanent legislation and suggest ways of assessing their effectiveness and the impact of more targeted measures. Preliminary results of an ongoing case study are presented.”

 

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