Paper-based services are critical to the 33 percent of Americans without broadband Internet access, the 45 percent of seniors without a computer and millions of others, yet the federal government is increasingly digitizing services – and eradicating paper-based information – in order to cut costs.
Directives from the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Labor and other agencies have forced electronic delivery of essential government services, including savings bonds, Social Security earnings statements, federal benefits checks, pension information and more.
The Coalition for Paper Options supports efforts to restore paper-based access, including:
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed new regulation (Rule 30e-3), which would eliminate the current default requirement for mutual funds to transmit shareholder reports and other important information to investors in paper form. Implementing this change will potentially harm millions of investors - the majority of whom have already expressed a preference for paper-based investment materials.
Introduced by Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI), the Personal Access to Paper Election Reform (PAPER) Act (H.R. 3673) amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mail paper forms and instructions to individuals who filed a paper return for the preceding tax year. The PAPER Act would establish the right to information in a format that is accessible to all, recognize and protect the need for individuals to access paper-based tax resources, and block the IRS from eliminating important paper-based documents and services without just cause.
The SAVINGS Act, introduced by Rep. Matthew Cartwright (D-PA) in the U.S. House and Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in the U.S. Senate, would protect access to savings bonds, which are no longer sold in paper form, by preserving the Tax-Time Savings Bond Program through 2020. The Tax-Time Savings Bond Program gives taxpayers the option to receive their tax refunds via savings bond(s). Currently, the U.S. Treasury has only committed to maintain the Tax-Time Savings Bond Program through the 2016 tax season.