Udall, Heinrich Urge IRS to Make Paper Tax Forms, Other Local Resources Available to Rural New Mexicans

WASHINGTON. D.C. – This week, U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich sent a letter to the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to express concerns about cuts to services, particuarly for rural and elderly New Mexicans. The letter follows numerous complaints from residents of Fort Sumner, Elephant Butte, Taos and across rural New Mexico about a lack of paper filing forms and reduced office hours due to budget cuts. With just under four weeks left to file income tax returns, Udall and Heinrich encouraged the IRS to make non-digital tax resources available statewide.

"IRS has reduced the number of offices and limited hours at locations where taxpayers can receive in-person assistance,” Udall and Heinrich wrote in the letter. "Furthermore, it was brought to our attention that the IRS no longer makes tax filing forms available at local libraries in rural communities such as Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Constituents who have inadequate access to digital alternatives have been left in the dark as to where to go to find tax forms.” 

The letter notes that while making tax services available online is important, New Mexico is a rural state with a large number of senior citizens who lack Internet access and expertise. "As the IRS transitions to the digital era, it cannot do so at the cost of elderly and rural Americans,” the senators wrote.

 

The full text of the letter is HERE and below:

The Honorable John Koskinen
Commissioner
Internal Revenue Service
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1111 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room 3241
Washington, DC 20224

Dear Commissioner Koskinen:

We write to express our concern over reduced hours for IRS offices and the lack of availability of paper forms at local public facilities in New Mexico. Non-digital resources are vital to ensuring that taxpayers get the help they need with forms and filing as they spend an estimated 6.1 billion hours on tax preparation before the April 15 deadline. 

IRS has reduced the number of offices and limited hours at locations where taxpayers can receive in-person assistance. Furthermore, it was brought to our attention that the IRS no longer makes tax filing forms available at local libraries in rural communities such as Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Constituents who have inadequate access to digital alternatives have been left in the dark as to where to go to find tax forms. 

We understand that the IRS has limited resources with reduced budgets, and we believe efforts to make these services available over the Internet are important. However, New Mexico is a highly rural state with limited and unreliable access to broadband and with a larger population of senior citizens compared to the national average. Many of our constituents do not have the access or expertise necessary to reach these services online. As the IRS transitions to the digital era, it cannot do so at the cost of elderly and rural Americans.  

We look forward to hearing more from you on how the decisions to scale back services were made and what, if any, consideration was given to the different needs of rural taxpayers. We are confident that we can work together to find a solution that ensures rural constituents in our home state, and across the nation can access the assistance, information, and forms they require for the upcoming tax filing season.

 

Sincerely,

 

U.S. Senator Tom Udall

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich