AMID ECONOMIC SUFFERING RELATED TO COVID-19, MURPHY LEADS SENATE DEMOCRATS IN ASKING IRS TO EXTEND TAX FILING UNTIL JULY

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Thursday led 21 Senate Democrats in calling on the U.S. Department of Treasury to formally extend the deadline until July 15 for individuals and businesses to file their 2019 taxes. In a letter to U.S Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin, the senators expressed their worry that the existing plan allowing for extensions just for payments and not filings is unduly cumbersome to Americans already faced with economic certainty, and extending the deadline will provide much-needed relief to elderly and low-income tax filers.

“The ongoing public health threat from the COVID-19 pandemic has created widespread economic turmoil for American taxpayers, who are potentially facing a prolonged period without income or revenue.  Extending the tax filing deadline will allow taxpayers time to accurately file and prepare for payments in the face of increasing economic uncertainty,” the senators wrote.

The senators continued: “Several states are basing their individual filing deadlines on the IRS’s deadline and are therefore still requiring returns to be submitted by April 15. It would help many American taxpayers if they knew they could file on July 15 without needing to ask for extensions or worry about late payments.”

Others who joined Murphy in this effort include U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Angus King (I-Maine), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

A full text of the letter can be found here and below.

March 19, 2020

The Honorable Steven T. Mnuchin

Secretary of the Treasury

U.S. Department of the Treasury

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20220 

Dear Secretary Mnuchin,

We are writing to ask that you formally and officially extend the deadline for individuals and businesses to file their 2019 taxes to, at a minimum, July 15. Your current guidance allows taxpayers such an extension only for payments, but the trajectory of the spread of COVID-19, and the continued precipitous economic downturn, require that the filing deadline also be moved back automatically for all filers. We worry that the existing plan is unduly cumbersome to Americans already faced with economic uncertainty. 

The ongoing public health threat from the COVID-19 pandemic has created widespread economic turmoil for American taxpayers, who are potentially facing a prolonged period without income or revenue.  Extending the tax filing deadline will allow taxpayers time to accurately file and prepare for payments in the face of increasing economic uncertainty.

In addition, it will provide much-needed relief to elderly and low-income tax filers. Many free tax-preparation sites for underserved populations, such as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), are shut down.  A deferral of tax payments may not help these individuals, and with free tax-preparation sites shut down, these Americans will not get the help they need to timely and accurately file.

Several states are basing their individual filing deadlines on the IRS’s deadline and are therefore still requiring returns to be submitted by April 15. It would help many American taxpayers if they knew they could file on July 15 without needing to ask for extensions or worry about late payments.

With the rest of the federal government is taking measures to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and help workers and families during this difficult economic time, we would hope that the Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service would ease the uncertainty for American taxpayers and extend the filing deadline for at least 90 days. 

Sincerely,

###