UPD

U.S. Reps. Anthony Brindisi (D, NY-22) and John Katko (R, NY-24) today led a bipartisan effort urging the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to take immediate steps to address confusion surrounding the agency’s delivery of Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) by debit card.

Authorized under the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, EIPs were intended to provide direct and immediate relief to working families. While many taxpayers have received their EIPs in the months since the CARES Act became law, Brindisi and Katko continue to hear from constituents who are confused and frustrated by the varying distribution methods for payments. Specifically, the lawmakers have heard from families and individuals who received their EIP in the form of a debit card, but, believing that the card was not legitimate, destroyed it.

Brindisi and Katko today called on the IRS to waive fees for replacement payments and provide an explanation as to why taxpayers received varying forms of payment. Additionally, if the IRS plans to continue utilizing this payment method, the lawmakers called for the IRS to issue additional guidance on how taxpayers can verify the legitimacy of these cards.

Brindisi and Katko wrote, “In order to resolve these issues, we respectfully request the IRS explain the methodology behind determining which recipients receive EIPs in the form of a debit card, instead of a direct deposit or paper check. If the IRS intends to distribute remaining EIPs via debit card, we encourage the IRS to take steps to increase awareness of this payment method and issue guidance to taxpayers on how to verify the legitimacy of their debit cards. Additionally, we ask the IRS to waive any and all fees related to the replacement of debit cards that have been lost or destroyed due to lack of information about the nature of these payments. The IRS should review these processes and take necessary action to clarify this issue for taxpayers immediately.”

The full text of their request can be found below:

Dear Commissioner Rettig:

Thank you for your continued leadership through the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The IRS has played an instrumental role in administering the Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) established under the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which have provided critical relief to millions of American families. We appreciate your efforts in administering these payments efficiently.

Although many taxpayers have received their EIPs in the months since the CARES Act became law, our offices continue to receive concerns from constituents who are confused and frustrated by the varying distribution methods for payments. While the IRS has issued guidance to assist Congressional offices in answering constituent questions regarding EIPs, many taxpayers have had difficulty accessing necessary information and are unsure of how their payments will come.

While we support efforts to deliver EIPs in an efficient manner, our offices have received significant concerns regarding the utilization of debit cards to deliver payments. Many recipients are concerned that the debit cards are not legitimate or are part of a scam. In many instances, constituents have destroyed these payments upon receipt due to confusion about the nature of the debit cards.

In order to resolve these issues, we respectfully request the IRS explain the methodology behind determining which recipients receive EIPs in the form of a debit card, instead of a direct deposit or paper check. If the IRS intends to distribute remaining EIPs via debit card, we encourage the IRS to take steps to increase awareness of this payment method and issue guidance to taxpayers on how to verify the legitimacy of their debit cards. Additionally, we ask the IRS to waive any and all fees related to the replacement of debit cards that have been lost or destroyed due to lack of information about he nature of these payments. The IRS should review these processes and take necessary action to clarify this issue for taxpayers immediately.

Thank you for your time and attention to this request. We recognize the challenges the IRS faces in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and commend your agency for your hard work in facing these obstacles.

Lockwood Law

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