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Pascrell Announces Committee Approval of Bill to Protect Personal Information

Washington, DC, April 11, 2018

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) announced that the House Ways and Means Committee voted to advance H.R. 4403, the Moving American Privacy Protection Act, a Pascrell-sponsored bill to protect the private information of Americans when they move.

“The current procedures used by U.S. Customs are not working. In any functioning system, the burden of protecting personally identifiable information should not be placed on individual Americans’ shoulders,” said Rep. Pascrell about H.R. 4403. “We expect that our government will protect such sensitive information. This legislation will help ensure that it will.”

To protect personally identifiable information, Customs currently allows shippers to request confidential treatment of certain information. However, the process is cumbersome; and by placing the burden of protection on individuals, personally identifiable information is often mistakenly disclosed. H.R. 4403 would mandate that Customs put in place a proactive system that will prevent identifiable information from being made public.

 The Committee also approved the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Permanence Act (H.R. 2901), which Congressman Pascrell has cosponsored, and H.R. 5439, a bill that would help taxpayers who are the victims of identity theft.

“VITA has been a great success and this bill will make it permanent,” said Rep. Pascrell about H.R. 2901. “When I visited United Way in my district I saw that VITA volunteers were a vital resource for my constituents in filing their taxes and finding out if they are eligible for Earned Income and Child Tax Credits. To countless Americans, this service is critical. I am hopeful the full House will act on the Committee’s recommendation.”

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provides grants for developing and expanding tax preparation programs across the country for low-income and limited English-speaking communities. Studies have shown that VITA has been more effective at reducing errors in tax filings than the many unregulated tax preparers who charge fees and face virtually no oversight. H.R. 2901 would make the VITA program permanent.

Congressman Pascrell also supported H.R. 5439. In the 115th Congress, Rep. Pascrell introduced the Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Prevention Act, which included a provision creating a single IRS point of contact for identity theft victims. H.R. 5439 offers that provision as a stand-alone bill.

“Identity theft can be a terrifying experience. Victims often express frustration with the need to repeatedly contact the IRS and explain their situation to multiple IRS employees. Having a single point of contact is a commonsense solution so that identity theft victims can speak to one IRS representative who tracks their case from start to finish,” said Rep. Pascrell about H.R. 5439.

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