As Illinois Families File Their Returns, Hare Votes for Bill to Protect Taxpayers
As the tax season officially comes to a close, Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) today voted in favor of the Taxpayer Protection Act of 2007, a bill to provide taxpayers with stronger protections from identity theft and tax fraud.
"With more than half of taxpayers now filing their 1040's electronically, it is critical that we put measures in place to combat fraud and other Internet schemes," Hare said. "Con artists have swindled thousands of dollars in tax refunds by luring victims to bogus websites that imitate the IRS in order to steal both personal information and tax refunds."
The Taxpayer Protection Act of 2007 subjects these offenders to higher civil and criminal penalties and requires the IRS to notify taxpayers of suspected identify theft. "We have an obligation to protect taxpayers from these scams while constantly monitoring for signs of foul play," Hare added.
The bill also:
* Simplifies tax filing requirements for businesses owned jointly by husbands and wivespermitting both the husband and wife to be credited for the payment of Social Security and Medicare taxes (under current law only the spouse filing a return can claim those taxes) and makes it easier for spouses to file as sole proprietors and not as a partnership.
* Strengthens IRS outreach to make sure that people know that they are entitled to tax refunds or to payments under the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Approximately 25 percent of households eligible for the EITC in 1999 did not claim it, and working Americans may have lost out on approximately $8 billion in unclaimed earned income credits in 2004.
* Increases taxpayer protections from "predatory" providers of refund anticipation loans, gives taxpayers more time to recover property seized improperly by the IRS, and works to stop the widespread tax fraud pulled off by inmates of federal prisons.