The IRS is pushing the federal tax-filing deadline from April 15 to May 17 as the agency deals with disruptions during the coronavirus pandemic and the prospect of implementing key parts of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said even with the new deadline, the public should consider filing as soon as possible and provide direct deposit information so they can quickly claim any refunds or stimulus payments.
“This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities,” Mr. Rettig said in a statement Wednesday.
Taxpayers can also postpone federal income tax payments that they owe for the 2020 tax year to May 17, the IRS said.
Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, said it’s probably wise to give the agency more time to deal with the “chaos” resulting from the latest relief package.
“If you thought tax day during a surprise pandemic was hard, wait until you see tax day during a pandemic, with huge non-emergency regulations and tax hikes from Democrats,” Mr. Brady said.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal of Massachusetts and Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey said they’re pleased by the extension but that they would be closely monitoring the developments.
“Under titanic stress and strain, American taxpayers and tax preparers must have more time to file tax returns,” said the two Democratic lawmakers, who had pushed for an extension. “The IRS itself started the filing season late, continues to be behind schedule, and now must implement changes from the American Rescue Plan.”
Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, had said Wednesday the IRS should strongly consider moving the deadline given all the moving parts from the $1.9 trillion law and earlier COVID-19 relief.
“The various coronavirus relief programs created over the last year, including the bill signed into law just last week, have resulted in a large amount of extra paperwork for taxpayers this year and have required tax preparation firms to constantly update their systems,” Mr. Crapo said.
As of the end of last month, the number of returns filed was down by about 25% and the number of returns processed was down 31% compared to the same time last year.
The IRS moved the tax filing deadline to July 15 last year, when the traditional tax day in April fell as the country was still coming to grips with the scope of the pandemic.