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PMA Statement on IRS Dispersal of Stimulus Payments

September 28, 2020

Washington, D.C. – President Chad Hooper of the Professional Managers Association (PMA) - formed in 1981 by IRS Managers as a national membership association representing the interests of professional managers, management officials and non-bargaining unit employees in the federal government- released the following statement in response to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report “Federal Efforts Could Be Strengthened by Timely and Concerted Actions”:

“We are deeply appreciative of the critical oversight role played by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). GAO reports on agency actions are an important means by which agencies can identify issues and ensure the most efficient means of meeting taxpayer needs. Unfortunately, PMA disagrees with the notion outlined in GAO’s recent report which indicates the IRS is not doing enough to ensure every eligible individual received their Economic Impact Payment under the CARES Act, commonly referred to as a stimulus payment,” Hooper explained.

“GAO correctly identified that millions of eligible Americans have yet to receive their stimulus payments. The primary reason for this is that many of these individuals are ‘nonfilers’- meaning they have not recently filed federal taxes. Without having a tax return on file, the IRS has no way of knowing who these individuals are or where to send a stimulus payment. To alleviate this problem, the IRS created an internet platform for non-filers to self-identify and register for their payments. The IRS has extended deadlines for non-filers to self-register in an effort to ensure all eligible Americans receive their stimulus payment ,” Hooper continued. “The ‘non-filer’ problem is one GAO identifies and even reports that 5.3 million individuals have used the online tool to receive their payments. This is clear evidence of concerted efforts by the IRS to meet every eligible American and indicates the IRS did effectively reach most, if not all, of the taxpayers whom it is typically responsible.”

“A recommendation not included in GAO’s report which PMA offers, is increasing avenues for interagency cooperation to access nonfilers. For example, the IRS could benefit from working with agencies already equipped to do outreach to nonfiling Americans, such as the Department of Commerce via the Census, the Department of Health and Human Services via anti-poverty programs, or the Department of Housing and Urban Development via housing assistance program,” Hooper further. “The report notes the benefits of interagency cooperation, but places a heavy burden on the IRS to lead this coordination without acknowledging the complex legal and regulatory hurdles to doing so. We encourage action by lawmakers and regulators to ease these burdens.”

“Ultimately, the IRS mission does not include economic stimulation and anti-poverty/social safety net assistance. When the CARES Act passed, the IRS, like many other agencies and employers, was working in extremely unique and novel conditions. The pandemic placed a significant strain on IRS staffing and capacity levels. This is in addition to the reality that the IRS budget and staffing levels have been reduced by $2 billion and 20,000 respectively since 2008, the last time the IRS undertook a major economic stimulation mission. Nonetheless, the vast majority of Americans received their stimulus payments in a matter of weeks and the IRS continues working diligently to ensure every eligible American receives their payment as soon as possible. While this is an entirely atypical mission for the IRS, we remain committed to providing every American the support and assistance they need during these difficult times. Unfortunately, this will not be possible without assistance from our partners across the federal government and additional funding to counter the capacity shortages the Service is facing,” Hooper concluded.

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