Lawmakers ask IRS to delay tax deadline again this year

Written on Feb 22, 2021

Federal lawmakers are asking the IRS to push back this year’s income tax filing deadline, just like it did last spring at the start of the pandemic.

An IRS official has already said the agency isn’t planning to change the standard April 15 filing deadline, but lawmakers are pushing for the change to “eliminate unnecessary taxpayer and practitioner anxiety.”

The IRS started accepting taxes on Feb. 12, slightly later than usual.

The “condensed filing season” means a tighter timeframe for taxpayers to prepare themselves if they owe taxes and need to pay by April 15, according to the letter, signed by lawmakers.

The April 15 date is the deadline to pay taxes. It’s also the deadline to submit a return, but taxpayers can get an extension to Oct. 15. They can also work out installment plans if they cannot pay the full amount owed by April 15.

The letter said demand is heavy this year for free tax prep services geared towards low-income households. But at the same time, “health and safety concerns continue to keep taxpayer assistance sites closed and taxpayers homebound,” it added. This creates an access problem that’s especially pressing for people with limited computer access or limited English proficiency.

The pandemic’s economic consequences have been crushing for low-income households. In any year, refunds for overpayment of taxes and tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit are critical sources of liquidity for these taxpayers, advocates say. This year, anyone who missed out on stimulus payments or didn’t get the full amount can claim it on their 2020 income taxes.

Given the circumstances, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig has previously said this is “one of the nation’s most important filing seasons ever.”

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