Wyden dings IRS for access issues in tax credit tool

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee wants the tax agency to offer its advanced child tax credit tool in more mobile-friendly format and make the content available in more languages.

Shutterstock photo ID: photo ID: 245503636 By Mark Van Scyoc Sign outside the Internal Revenue Service building in downtown Washington, DC on December 26, 2014.
 

Millions of America's most vulnerable families may face hurdles signing up for the advanced Child Tax Credit payments the IRS began sending out this month due to an inadequate sign-up portal for non-filer applicants, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, warned in a letter sent to the agency.

The IRS Non-Filer Sign Up Tool, an online portal the agency rolled out in partnership with Intuit and the Free File Foundation, was intended to help families who earned too little to file tax returns in 2019 or 2020 sign up for the advance monthly payments.

Wyden said the portal had not been translated into any other language besides English, and was not accessible on mobile devices, writing in a letter to Commissioner Charles Rettig on Thursday that "millions of American families could be denied the opportunity to provide a more secure future for their children and break the cycle of poverty for so many" if the portal remained inaccessible for those applicants.

"I am concerned that technological and design constraints on the portal will prevent America's most vulnerable communities - those who make so little income they previously did not file - from even applying for this important funding," Wyden wrote The letter was first reported by Huffington Post.

Wyden wants Rettig to answer whether the IRS included mobile-friendly versions of the website, as well as language translations, in its contractual requirements as mandated by federal law. The Connected Government Act requires all new and updated agency websites to be mobile friendly as of 2018, Wyden noted, adding: "While I know the IRS worked with private-sector partners Intuit and the Free File Foundation to build the non-filer portal, which is not hosted on a government domain, the intent of this is clear."

Wyden also asked if the IRS had made use of federal funding through the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) or the General Service Administration's Technology Transformation Service, as well as services offered through the U.S. Digital Service, when developing the non-filer sign-up tool. The IRS has never applied for funding through TMF, according to a response to a Freedom of Information Act request received by FCW in October last year.

The letter went on to urge the IRS to direct Intuit and the Free File Alliance to develop language translations and mobile-friendly versions for the portal so the "most vulnerable working families, including those who do not speak English or only have a mobile device, have access to the Child Tax Credit."

The TMF has funded projects seeking to improve government portals like the non-filer sign-up tool in recent years, including a Department of Agriculture website for farmers and ranchers, which helped provide pandemic-related financial assistance throughout the COVID-19 crisis. With a $1 billion plus-up for the fund included in the American Rescue Plan, lawmakers have increasingly called on agencies to use those dollars on technology modernization projects which improve cyber posture and help provide more efficient government services.

Deputy Federal CIO Maria Roat said at an recent industry event that the TMF Board was impressed with the number of proposals received after relaxing repayments requirements earlier this year due to the injection in funds, and was continuing to meet in an increased capacity to manage the surge of applications.

Wyden acknowledged in his letter "that technological capacity is not the core competency for many federal agencies" and noted how TMF has "newly updated and much more flexible repayment rules for agencies," while asking the IRS to provide a reasonable time frame to resolve the sign-up tool issues.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.