April 19,2016

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Senate Finance Democrats Call for Committee Action to Protect Taxpayers from Fraud

Members Encourage Minimum Standards for Paid Tax Return Preparers

WASHINGTON Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Finance Democrats today sent a letter to Senate Finance Committee majority members calling for bipartisan action to help protect honest taxpayers from tax fraud -- whether it’s by identity theft or unscrupulous tax return preparers.

This letter comes in advance of the Senate Finance Committee markup on Wednesday, April 20, of an original bill to curb identity theft and tax refund fraud as well as a second bipartisan bill aimed to protect taxpayers. Legislation requiring minimum standards for paid tax preparers was previously included in a bipartisan Senate Finance Committee bill, “The Preventing Identity Theft and Tax Refund Fraud Act,” the markup of which was postponed in September 2015.

“Congress needs to do a better job of protecting honest taxpayers from fraud,” said Wyden. “That includes ensuring that paid tax return preparers are held to minimum standards of competency as they have access to taxpayers’ most private information, including banking accounts and Social Security numbers. Having just passed the tax filing deadline, taxpayers should be able to go on with their lives without also having to worry about being scammed.”

Wyden, along with Senators Cardin, Carper and Warner, plan to offer an amendment that would provide the Department of Treasury authority to develop and impose minimum standards for paid tax return preparers.

Putting in place minimum standards for paid tax preparers has received support from outside consumer groups, low income advocates, the National Taxpayer Advocate, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and GAO.

The letter can be found here. The amendment can be found here