A bipartisan group of more than 100 House lawmakers is urging the IRS to extend the tax return filing season and follow the process it undertook last year to give taxpayers more time.
“Millions of stressed-out taxpayers, businesses and preparers would appreciate an extension of the deadline to file their 2020 tax returns,” the group, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chair Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., said in a March 16 letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig and acting Treasury Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur.
The letter argues that an extension of the April 15 filing deadline would give taxpayers more time to understand some of the laws passed by Congress over the past year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter points to a provision in the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (P.L. 117-2) that made the first $10,200 in unemployment benefits earned in 2020 tax-free as one rule change that taxpayers need to get accustomed to.
The IRS heeded similar calls from lawmakers last year, extending the tax return deadline to July 15 because of the pandemic.
Although only four Republicans joined the nearly 100 Democrats calling on the IRS to postpone the filing deadline, the issue remains bipartisan. Ways and Means ranking member Kevin Brady, R-Texas, told reporters the week of March 8 that he supports the effort. That came after the IRS allowed residents in his state a two-month extension because of the effects of February’s winter storms.
The lawmakers join a growing chorus of voices calling on the IRS to postpone the deadline.
The American Institute of CPAs has also called on the IRS to postpone the deadline after its members have been hounded by clients about the difficulties of filing their returns on time. “Denying a postponement of this filing and payment deadline disregards and further exacerbates the continued difficulties being faced by these families and businesses,” the AICPA said in a March 16 statement.
However, the IRS has been adamant that it won’t be extending the deadline, saying in a statement last month that it has no plans to give taxpayers more time. Rettig is scheduled to appear before Pascrell’s subcommittee on March 18 to address the 2021 filing season.