Harder Urges the IRS to Prioritize Direct Payments and Extend Tax Filing Deadline

March 17, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Today, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig urging him to extend this year’s tax filing deadline to June 15th. Rep. Harder’s letter asks the IRS to prioritize delivering the $1,400 direct stimulus checks passed through the American Rescue Plan before turning the agency’s attention to 2020 tax filings.

 

“The IRS should have one priority right now: delivering people money,” said Rep. Harder. “Today, I’m asking the IRS to extend the tax filing deadline by two months so they can get our families the money they need and then get their house in order before starting the 2020 tax filing process. So many Central Valley families are barely hanging on right now, and there is no reason to rush them through this process.”

 

 

The full text of the letter is available below and online here.

 

Dear Commissioner Rettig,

 

I write today to urge the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to extend this year’s tax filing deadline until June 15. With the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) health emergency, delayed start to this year’s tax season, and new tax provisions included in the American Rescue Plan (P.L. 117-2) that passed last week, additional time for taxpayers to file accurately—and ensure they receive the provisions they are entitled to—is needed.

 

Last year, as the country went into widespread lockdown to limit the spread of COVID-19, the IRS recognized the need for a tax extension and quickly acted. This year is no different. With only a month remaining before the tax deadline, taxpayers in my district who need help filing can’t find it. Instead they are encountering overwhelmed IRS phone lines, scarce in-person assistance, and confusion around tax forms, like the 1099-G, that many are receiving for the first time . The two-week delay to the start of this year’s tax filing season on February 12 only contributed to the confusion and anxiety that taxpayers in my district are experiencing.

 

Getting money into the pockets of American families must be the priority. Much of the aid passed in the American Rescue Plan will flow through the IRS, including a third round of economic impact payments (EIPs), so it is critical for taxpayers that their tax returns are filed accurately. Last year’s extension gave taxpayers the time they needed to file, while also expanding the IRS’s capacity to distribute the EIPs and 2019 tax refunds. From early figures, the IRS would again benefit from that additional capacity with more than 6.7 million tax returns from 2020 already backlogged.

 

I recognize the challenges that the IRS is facing in implementing the recent changes in tax law, as well as the lengths that agency employees have already gone to ensure that aid gets to American families. Your agency has played an essential role over the last year in the response to COVID-19 and I believe these challenges make clear the need for an extension of the current tax deadline to June 15. I look forward to your timely response on this critical matter.

 

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