Congress taking a look at rebate process
Thursday, June 19, 2008
As I type, two House Ways and Means subcommittees -- Oversight and Social Security -- are questioning IRS and Social Security Administration officials on the status of the economic stimulus payments.
In announcing the hearing, Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John Lewis (D-Georgia) and Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Michael R. McNulty (D-New York) noted that,
To see how well that money is being spent, the hearing will focus on the status of the stimulus payments, including:
- How many tax returns have been received and processed,
- The number of rebate checks issued, both via direct deposit and paper,
- The amount of the rebate checks issued,
- The overall payment schedule of rebate checks, and
- Outreach activities conducted by the IRS and the SSA to locate individuals eligible for the rebate checks.
Lawmakers also are interested in problems people have encountered in connection with getting their rebate checks and what can be done to address these problems.
Good luck there, guys! See my previous blog on this matter ("Learning process" subhead) for some suggestions.
Finally, the subcommittees want to hear about identity theft schemes that have cropped using using rebate checks as a lure, particularly those targeting Social Security beneficiaries. Essentially, the lawmakers want to know what the IRS and SSA have done and are doing to warn and protect taxpayers from rebate con artists.
What they said: You can read the formal hearing announcement here. Chairman Lewis' opening statement is here (if you get an Error 404 page, hit refresh or enter and it should show up).
The three invited witnesses are:
- IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman; read his written testimony here.
- SSA Deputy Commissioner for Operations Linda McMahon; click here to read her testimony.
- Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson; her prepared testimony is here.
I haven't yet thumbed through these documents, but I suspect they all, including Nina's, will say that the process is going as well as can be expected. I'll give them a closer read later today and get back to you.
And I'll check on the hearing itself to see if anything substantial crops up during the live questioning portion of the program. Who knows, we could have a Perry Mason style rebate revelatory moment.
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