Over 100 House members have signed a bipartisan letter asking the IRS on Tuesday to delay the April 15 tax filing date.
“Millions of stressed-out taxpayers, businesses and preparers would appreciate an extension of the deadline to file their 2020 tax returns,” members of Congress said in a letter addressed to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig and Mark Mazur, Treasury’s acting assistant secretary for tax policy, on Tuesday.
The legislators cited ongoing stress from the coronavirus pandemic as a primary motivator behind the request. “We respectfully urge you to extend the federal tax filing and payment deadline as Americans, and the IRS, continue to grapple with the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” they said.
The IRS extended filing dates for the 2019 fiscal year by three months in 2020. House members argue, “tens of millions of our constituents are facing the same logistical hurdles as last year,” and they point to the fact that the IRS remains overwhelmed, “answering only 1 out of 4 telephone calls” from concerned taxpayers.
They also pointed out ongoing logistical issues resulting from major changes brought about by relief efforts:
Over the past year, Congress enacted four historic emergency stimulus packages to deliver relief to Americans through Economic Impact Payments, the Paycheck Protection Program, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021, contained a provision excluding from income the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 for those with an adjusted gross income under $150,000.
“The IRS will need to take action to address the changes in the tax law,” they said, “and taxpayers will need additional time to fully understand how this affects their tax liability.” Furthermore, they pointed out that “taxpayers and tax return preparers are awaiting guidance from the IRS regarding these recent tax changes and are still waiting for some IRS forms to be made available for electronic filing.”
As of February 23, Rettig said the Internal Revenue Service “[has] no present plans” to delay the filing deadline. The commissioner said pushing back the date “creates a lot of confusion for taxpayers,” and “also backs up the Internal Revenue Service” itself. So far, only Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas have been granted extensions due to the recent winter storm that stripped power from millions of homes.