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Lawmakers Urge IRS to Extend Tax Filing Deadline

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What You Need to Know

  • The stimulus bill will change some tax laws, Reps. Neal and Pascrell point out.
  • The number of tax returns filed so far this year is far lower than it was a year ago.
  • Many Americans face the same health and economic challenges that necessitated an extension last year.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., called on the Internal Revenue Service on Monday to extend the 2021 tax filing season.

Noting that the “pandemic continues to impose titanic strain on the agency and on taxpayers,” the two lawmakers stated that in 2020, the tax filing season was extended by three months to July 15.

Further, once signed into law, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, passed by the Senate on Saturday, “will change the tax laws applicable to unemployment benefits received in 2020 and reported on returns filed during this filing season,” the lawmakers said. “Taxpayers need more time to file accurate returns and get their questions answered by the IRS.”

Neal and Pascrell stated: “We want to remind the IRS that many Americans continue to face the same health and economic challenges that necessitated an extension last year. Facing enormous strain and anxiety, taxpayers need flexibility now. We demand that the IRS announce an extension as soon as possible.”

As of the end of February, the number of returns filed was down by nearly 25% from last year at the same time, and the number of returns processed by the IRS was down by 31%, the lawmakers pointed out.

Also, only 27% of telephone calls to the IRS are being answered, indicating that approximately three out of every four taxpayers trying to reach the IRS are unable to get help, they said.

“We stand in the midst of the most important tax filing season in recent memory, and taxpayers cannot get the help they need from the IRS,” said Neal and Pascrell in the statement. “Returns received by the IRS have fallen significantly behind last year’s numbers.”

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