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WASHINGTON – American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Donna Harman issued the following statement on the impact of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continued moves to deny paper-based information and services. The IRS no longer mails tax forms to U.S. taxpayers, discontinued sending the Tax Instruction Guide for individuals (Publication 17) through the mail, and stopped equipping libraries or post offices with the booklet for distribution. The only place to find the instructions on paper is through Government Publishing Office, where a hard copy version can be ordered for $10.
“As millions of Americans prepare to file their taxes, the IRS continues its short-sighted rush to digitize by abandoning paper communication in the next five years. These actions disenfranchise many Americans, with 30 percent of American adults lacking broadband access at home. For citizens over 65, this number rises to 53 percent, and 45 percent of seniors do not even own a computer. Interestingly, computer savvy millennials are, according to recent surveys, more likely to file their taxes on paper than any other age group.
“Our country expects its citizens to fulfill their obligation of filing annual taxes. In turn, our government has a responsibility to supply the necessary information in a manner that people can access, including paper. Unfortunately, the citizens of our country are not given the option of getting tax instructions in paper form from the IRS.
“Congressman Dan Benishek has taken a lead in protecting taxpayers’ right to choose paper communication. AF&PA thanks him for leading the Personal Access to Paper Election Reform Act, which would require the IRS to mail paper forms to any individual who filed a paper return for the preceding taxable year. We also encourage other members of Congress to join him in protecting Americans’ opportunity to choose the manner in which they receive the most basic government information and services.”
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance a sustainable U.S. pulp, paper, packaging, tissue and wood products manufacturing industry through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. AF&PA member companies make products essential for everyday life from renewable and recyclable resources and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative - Better Practices, Better Planet 2020. The forest products industry accounts for approximately 4 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures over $200 billion in products annually, and employs approximately 900,000 men and women. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 47 states. Visit AF&PA online at www.afandpa.org or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.