[NFB-NM] {Disarmed} IRS to Implement Process to Provide Accessible Tax Notices to the Blind

National Federation of the Blind webmaster at nfb.org
Wed Jul 15 16:15:20 UTC 2020






SAN FRANCISCO (JULY 15, 2020): Today, as millions of taxpayers file their
income tax returns, the IRS is announcing that it has agreed to develop and
implement a process to allow blind taxpayers to request post-filing tax
notices--such as notices about additional taxes or penalties owed--in
Braille, large print, or electronic formats. The new alternative media
process (AMP) will be in place by January 31, 2022. The agency will also
consider whether it can add audio notices to the alternative formats that
can be requested, work with third-party entities to improve the
accessibility of tax forms and documents, and take other steps to improve
the accessibility of interactions with the agency and its partners. 

The actions to be taken by the IRS resolve a lawsuit [2] filed last year by
individual blind taxpayers, along with the National Federation of the Blind
[2], alleging violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,
which the agency denies. The legal team in the lawsuit included attorneys
from Brown Goldstein Levy LLP [3] and Disability Rights California [4], the
protection and advocacy system for the state. 

"We are pleased that the IRS has recognized that both the law and
fundamental fairness demand that blind taxpayers receive notices that we
can read and act upon while protecting our privacy and preserving our
independence," said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of
the Blind. "We look forward to continued collaboration with the agency to
improve the process of filing and paying taxes in ways that respect the
equality of blind people." 

"Everyone should receive information about the taxes they pay in a format
that is accessible to them," said Autumn Elliott, senior counsel at
Disability Rights California. "We are thrilled that the IRS has committed
itself to sending notices to blind taxpayers that they can read

The new process envisioned by this settlement will supplement the many
accessible resources already available to taxpayers with disabilities
through IRS.gov and the IRS's Alternative Media Center. 

"The IRS is strongly committed to ensuring equity and the civil rights of
all taxpayers, including individuals with disabilities," said Carrie Y.
Holland, Acting Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement.
"This settlement demonstrates that we are dedicated to improving
accessibility for blind and low-vision taxpayers. The new policies,
procedures and technology envisioned in this settlement will provide blind
taxpayers equal access to tax notices, enabling them to timely meet their
tax obligations." 



The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is
the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded
in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the
fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of
blind people of all ages and provides information and support to families
with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We
believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to
transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and
initiatives at www.nfb.org [5]. 

_DISABILITY RIGHTS CALIFORNIA (DRC)_ is the agency designated under federal
law to protect and advocate for the rights of Californians with
disabilities. The mission of DRC is to advance the rights, dignity, equal
opportunities, and choices for all people with disabilities. For more
information visit: https://www.nfb.org/libraries/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=17953&qid=3966448 [4]. 


Chris Danielsen
 Director of Public Relations
 National Federation of the Blind
 (410) 659-9314, extension 2330
 (410) 262-1281 (Cell)
 cdanielsen at nfb.org 

Melody Pomraning
 Director of Communications
 Disability Rights California
 (916) 504-5938
 Melody.Pomraning at disabilityrightsca.org 

Ryan Scarafile
 Internal Revenue Service
 (202) 317-4000
 newsroom at irs.gov 



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21230 | 410-659-9314 

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