Houlahan calls for answers from IRS after extended closure of Reading Taxpayer Assistance Center

In letter to IRS Commissioner, Houlahan urges re-opening of Reading IRS Office.

Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) sent a letter to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Danny Werfel on the sudden announcement of an extended closure of the IRS’ Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) in Reading. Houlahan asked for a meeting on the circumstances of the closure and urged the re-opening of the office as soon as possible.

“I want to emphasize the importance of the Reading TAC to my community. Through this office, my constituents can access IRS tax services in person including basic tax law assistance, account inquiries, document review, obtaining forms, arranging payments, identity protection requests, and more,” Houlahan said in the letter.

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Houlahan cited how crucial in-person services are for disadvantaged, older, or disabled individuals who may not be able to access many services online or over the phone. In the City of Reading, where nearly 20% of residents have a disability and almost 30% are living in poverty, individuals are more likely to need in-person services. While the office remains closed, Reading residents must travel nearly 30 miles to the next closest location, which is an inaccessible distance for many families.

Houlahan continued: “I stand ready to work with you to get the Reading TAC re-opened as soon as possible. In the meantime, my offices remain prepared to accept and process IRS casework, including in-person at my Reading and West Chester district offices, to help families in Berks and Chester Counties get the assistance they need.”

Find the full letter here and below.

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Dear Commissioner Werfel: I write to express significant concern over the recent extended closure of the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) in Reading, Pennsylvania. This center, located just one floor down from my own district office, provides vital services and accessibility to my constituents in Pennsylvania’s Sixth Congressional District.

First, I want to emphasize the importance of the Reading TAC to my community. Through this office, my constituents can access IRS tax services in person including basic tax law assistance, account inquiries, document review, obtaining forms, arranging payments, identity protection requests, and more. As you know, in-person services are critical for disadvantaged, older, or disabled individuals who may not be able to access these services online or over the phone. In-person assistance is especially necessary in the City of Reading where the poverty rate is 29.4% and nearly 20% of residents live with a disability.

Not only does the Reading TAC provide essential services to the city, but also to the broader Berks and northern Chester County communities. While this office remains closed, my constituents will have to travel long distances to receive in-person IRS help. The five closest TAC offices to Reading include Lancaster (28 miles away), Bethlehem (34.8 miles away), King of Prussia (34.8 miles away), Media (39.8 miles away), and Horsham (42.9 miles away). In other words, in-person IRS taxpayer assistance will not be accessible for thousands of families. This is unacceptable.

I know through the significant amount of IRS casework processed by my office just how important it is that my constituents have in-person IRS support that is readily available and accessible. To this point, I was proud to vote for essential funding for the IRS as part of the Inflation Reduction Act to improve taxpayer services. Unfortunately, this closure is the opposite of that.

With these concerns in mind, I urge you to re-open the Reading TAC as soon as possible. Additionally, I respectfully request a meeting with my office to detail answers to the following questions by Friday, July 19th, 2024:

Please detail the reasons for the closure of the TAC in Reading. What challenges are preventing the office from operating and can you accelerate resolutions?

When closing the office, did the IRS consider the impacts to disadvantaged populations in the City of Reading and the impact to accessibility for families in Berks and Chester Counties?

What steps did the IRS take to alert the public and leaders when closing the office? Did the IRS disseminate information on where the public can receive equivalent services elsewhere while the TAC is closed? Was ample notice given to the City of Reading, Berks and Chester Counties, or other elected officials?

Please provide my office with a timeline for the re-opening of the TAC in Reading. Can the office be re-opened before the December 31st date indicated on the flier outside of the TAC?

I stand ready to work with you to get the Reading TAC re-opened as soon as possible. In the meantime, my offices remain prepared to accept and process IRS casework, including in-person at my Reading and West Chester district offices, to help families in Berks and Chester Counties get the assistance they need. Thank you for your attention and prompt reply.

Sincerely,
Chrissy Houlahan
Member of Congress

Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, an engineer, a serial entrepreneur, an educator, and a nonprofit leader. She represents Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Chester County and southern Berks County.

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