Sending Office: Honorable TJ Cox
Co-Leads: Rep. TJ Cox, Rep. David Schweikert
Current Co-Signers: Barragan, Bass, Bustos, Castro, Chu, Cicilline, Cisneros, Clarke, Correa, Costa, Cuellar, Escobar, Eshoo, Gallego, Garcia S., Gomez, Gonzalez V., Grijalva, Jackson Lee, Khanna, Lacy Clay, Lee B., Lee S. Lowenthal,
McBath, McGovern, McNerney, Meeks, Moore, Nadler, Napolitano, Neguse, Norton, Panetta, Porter, Raskin, Richmond, Sanchez L., Schakowsky, Shalala, Smith, Soto, Speier, Suozzi, Titus, Tlaib, Van Drew, Vargas, Watson Coleman, Wild
Please join me in asking the Internal Revenue Service to provide transparency about which correspondence is translated, and its process for translating documents. Currently, the IRS provides its website in a variety of languages, making it more accessible.
However, the “B” Notice issued by the IRS is only available in English. The lack of translated letters creates a barrier for taxpayers with limited English proficiency.
The “B” Notice is issued from the Backup Withholding Program. It provides notices to payers (a financial institution, business or person) who file certain information returns with incorrect Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) to begin backup withholding.
It is a commonly issued notice, given the complexity of tax filing.
This letter requires that the IRS provide transparency in how it chooses which documents are translated and the process for translating correspondence sent to taxpayers. As Members of Congress, we must ensure that federal information, especially regarding
sensitive, personal information, like that received from the IRS, is made accessible to all Americans, regardless of their English proficiency.
To sign on, please contact Nandini Narayan with Rep. Cox at 5-4695 or
Dear Commissioner Charles Rettig,
We are writing to seek information about the translation and interpretation services that the Internal Revenue Service provides for taxpayers with limited English proficiency. We are aware that this is not the case for the notice issued by the IRS under
the “B” back-up withholding program (“‘B’ Notice”), which is only available in English. “Vital documents” should be available in multiple languages. People with limited English proficiency may find language services difficult to obtain and may have limited
broadband or lack of access to the IRS website. Additionally, the “B Notice” letter is not on the IRS website, making it all the more important to provide the necessary translations for written correspondence.
We believe the failure to translate many important tax forms and letters creates a barrier for taxpayers who have limited English proficiency and want to understand and comply with the tax laws. Without providing these letters in the necessary language,
we believe the IRS puts an undue burden on individuals to decipher what the letter is asking of them. We therefore request responses to the following questions relating to the IRS’ policy on language accessibility for written and oral communication:
- As of January 2019, which forms, letters, and notices from the IRS are translated and in which languages are these offered?
- What is the current process at the IRS for translating written correspondence or providing translation services for taxpayers with limited English proficiency?
- According to the IRS Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, the IRS and IRS funded partners translate “certain vital documents into frequently encountered languages”. Are the most commonly filed tax forms, such as the Form 1040, and the “B” Notice considered
vital documents? If not, why does it not qualify as such?
We appreciate your consideration of this request. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us or have your staff contact Nandini Narayan,
firstname.lastname@example.org . We look forward to your response by March 13th, 2020 and continued efforts to improve services to taxpayers with limited English proficiency.
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0