On February 18, 2021, the Committee on Ways and Means wrote a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig to petition the extension of the tax return filing season beyond April 15, 2021. The Service was asked to consider the request and make an announcement as soon as possible.
Different Year, Same Challenges
The letter from the Committee on Ways and Means cites a number of reasons why the deadline should be extended. First, they note that taxpayers are facing the same health and economic challenges as they did in 2020 and thus should receive the same extension of time as they did in that year.
Specifically, some of the difficulties mentioned included the closure of taxpayer assistance locations as well as the inability for some Americans to leave their homes due to health and safety concerns. Additionally, the start of the filing season was delayed this year, which creates a condensed filing season that could also pose challenges to filing by April 15th. (The tax filing season opened February 12 – 16 days later than in 2020.) The letter also noted that the IRS has experienced a backlog in processing returns from last year, and thus could also benefit from the extended deadline.
What Taxpayers Can Do
What can taxpayers expect if this request is granted? If this is similar to last year, certain tax return filings, as well as payments (including first quarter estimated tax payments for 2022), could be delayed until July 15, 2021. Taxpayers would need to financially prepare for these payments as this extension is not a reduction in tax due but rather a deferral of when it is paid. Additionally, last year’s extension to July did not require additional filings with the IRS to receive this extension, which greatly alleviated the burden on taxpayers as well as the IRS.
We will continue to monitor this request and provide updates on any final decisions. As always, please contact us if you have any questions or would like to talk to one of our COVID-19 Advisory Team members – we’re here to help.