Following a year like no other in history, the main income tax filing deadline is less than a month away. Some, including members of Congress, are calling for it to be delayed, as it was last year during the opening months of the pandemic.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) wrote a letter Tuesday to the commissioner of the IRS and the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy, asking to push the filing deadline back.
“We write to urge you to extend the impending April 15th federal tax filing and payment deadline,” the two representatives, both Democrats, said in the letter to IRS commissioner Charles P. Rettig and Acting Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark J. Mazur.
According to CNBC, the letter was co-signed by a bipartisan group of more than 100 lawmakers, although Raskin and Pascrell are the main authors.
“We welcomed the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) decision last year, after bipartisan calls from Congress, to provide an automatic filing and payment extension to July 15, 2020. Almost a year later, we are still grappling with the massive economic, logistical and health challenges wrought by this devastating pandemic. Millions of stressed-out taxpayers, businesses and preparers would appreciate an extension of the deadline to file their 2020 tax returns.”
Raskin and Pascrell referenced the four rescue packages passed by Congress over the last year, one of which, the American Rescue Plan Act, was signed into law by President Biden just a few days ago. This, the Congressmen said, will require giving the IRS time to assess the tax implications of the changes in the law.
“Compounding these complicating factors, the IRS did not begin the 2020 filing season until February 12, 2021, nearly three weeks later than usual, creating a lot less time for constituents and businesses to file taxes overall,” Raskin and Pascrell wrote.
In addition, the Congressmen noted that with the pandemic still not over, Americans will have less access to tax preparers than they typically do during tax season. The House Ways and Means Committee has noted that, compared to 2020, “27% fewer tax returns have been filed already and 31% fewer returns have been processed by the IRS.”
CNBC, citing IRS data, added that the IRS had received nearly fifty-six million returns and processed nearly forty-nine million as of March 5, both fewer than at the same time during the 2020 filing season.
Other organizations, including the AARP and The American Institute of CPAs, have also joined the call for a delayed IRS filing deadline. It’s unclear if the Biden administration is on board with such a shift.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for the National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.