Action Alert: Tax Reform Increases Burden on Americans who are Blind
“As Congress continues to work on overhauling the American tax code, ACB urges citizens to engage their elected officials in Washington, calling on them to not advance any measure that would endanger Americans with disabilities.
Currently the House of Representatives and Senate plan on voting on the largest tax reform in over 30 years. Of greatest concern for Americans who are blind is the current proposal slated for vote in the House of Representatives, which aims to repeal both the increased standard deduction for individuals who are blind and the medical expenses deduction. These two deductions take into consideration the additional costs that are often the result of trying to live independently as a person who is blind.
Of greatest concern for Americans who are blind is the current proposal slated for vote this week in the House of Representatives, which aims to repeal both the increased standard deduction for individuals who are blind and the medical expenses deduction. These two deductions take into consideration the additional costs that are often the result of trying to live independently as a person who is blind. Therefore, it is important for Congress not to create barriers to independence in our tax code, nor should they be burdened even more when medical expenses exceed the threshold set by the IRS that allows for costly healthcare and expenses such as assistive technology or guide dog expenses to be deducted from their earned income. These deductions can significantly reduce the amount taxed by the IRS.
For most Americans, tax policy is a complex process. While messaging around the current tax reform proposals calls for a need to simplify this process, it must recognize that there are millions of Americans with unique medical needs and conditions such as blindness. It is often through the culmination of deductions, exemptions, and credits that many of these individuals are able to break even, not allowing for their disability to push them further into debt and poverty.
For this reason, ACB encourages individuals who have utilized these tax provisions to reach out to their local congressional offices, informing them that there are real individuals who will be negatively impacted by this tax reform.
The Senate is not expected to vote on its proposal until after the Thanksgiving recess. Constituents are encouraged to also reach out to their senators. Let your Senators and Representatives know that the burden will be much heavier for individuals with disabilities under these proposals, which will significantly increase our national debt over the next decade. This would force Congress to cut vital programs and services to meet the shortfall in revenue.
You can reach your member of Congress by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. They can connect you with the appropriate congressional office. Below are some helpful resources on the current tax proposals and key items slated for repeal.
TurboTax has helpful information on the current deductions individuals who are blind can utilize, which are slated for repeal: in the House bill under consideration:
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or feedback you receive after calling your member of Congress. Thank you for your ongoing advocacy.”
Director of Advocacy & Governmental Affairs
American Council of the Blind