Spanberger Calls on IRS to Extend 2020 Tax Filing Deadline to July 15

The IRS Started Accepting 2020 Returns on February 12 – Two Weeks Later than Originally Anticipated, and a Major Backlog in 2019 Tax Refunds Still Remains

HENRICO, V.A. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today called on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to immediately extend the 2020 tax filing deadline an additional three months — to July 15, 2021.

Central Virginia taxpayers currently have until Thursday, April 15, 2021 to file their 2020 tax return and pay any tax owed. However, the IRS continues to struggle with existing backlogs — and the agency started accepting 2020 tax returns two weeks later than originally anticipated. As of the end of January 2021, there were still 6.7 million 2019 returns in the IRS backlog. Many Central Virginians are still waiting for their 2019 refunds, while some Virginians are waiting for stimulus payments that would have been based on 2019 returns.

In a letter sent to IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig, Spanberger called on the agency to extend the filing deadline to July 15, as it had previously done during last year’s filing season.

“The ongoing backlog of 2019 tax returns, the insufficient capacity of IRS customer service phone lines, and the hundreds of thousands of CP59 notices sent to taxpayers who the IRS claimed did not file a 2019 tax return have only exacerbated the lack of clarity surrounding tax filing this year,” said Spanberger. “This confusion, and the corresponding challenges related to an insufficient ability to plan and save, has been compounded by a condensed filing season that didn’t even begin until February 12th, 16 days later than tax season began last year.”

Spanberger continued, “Such an extension would help eliminate unnecessary taxpayer anxiety during an already stressful period by providing more time to establish clarity and plan for payments. Additionally, this extension would enable the IRS to provide stimulus checks and outstanding 2019 tax refunds to the millions of taxpayers still waiting, thereby simplifying their filing process for this tax season.”

Click here to read Spanberger’s letter, and the full letter text is below.

Dear Commissioner Rettig,

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, millions of businesses and families across the country continue to experience financial hardship and uncertainty. To address this need and provide assistance to taxpayers struggling to meet the current tax filing deadline of April 15, 2021, I request that you again extend the tax filing deadline to July 15, 2021.

As you are aware, last year the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) extended the federal income tax filing due date from April 15th until July 15th in order to be responsive to those taxpayers experiencing health and economic challenges due to the pandemic. This extension deferred federal income tax payments without penalties or interest, which meant that taxpayers did not have to file forms or contact the IRS about payment extensions.

As has been identified by my colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee and by the American Institute of CPAs, many Americans continue to face the same challenges that required extending the filing season last year. In fact, the ongoing backlog of 2019 tax returns, the insufficient capacity of IRS customer service phone lines, and the hundreds of thousands of CP59 notices sent to taxpayers who the IRS claimed did not file a 2019 tax return have only exacerbated the lack of clarity surrounding tax filing this year. This confusion, and the corresponding challenges related to an insufficient ability to plan and save, has been compounded by a condensed filing season that didn’t even begin until February 12th, 16 days later than tax season began last year.

Given these compounding challenges, I respectfully request that the IRS extend the tax filing and payment deadlines until July 15, 2021. Such an extension would help eliminate unnecessary taxpayer anxiety during an already stressful period by providing more time to establish clarity and plan for payments. Additionally, this extension would enable the IRS to provide stimulus checks and outstanding 2019 tax refunds to the millions of taxpayers still waiting, thereby simplifying their filing process for this tax season.

Thank you, Commissioner Rettig, for your attention to this critical matter, and for the IRS’ work to address the economic impacts of this pandemic. Your swift action on this issue will help alleviate the concerns of taxpayers across our country.

BACKGROUND

Today’s effort builds on Spanberger’s work to bring clarity and relief to Central Virginians facing difficulties with their 2019 tax returns, stimulus checks, and the IRS system during the COVID-19 crisis.

In May 2020, Spanberger led a successful, multi-Member effort pushing the IRS to address its deficient customer service resources, especially as her office continued to receive calls and emails from Central Virginians describing unhelpful interactions with the IRS. Soon after her push, the IRS announced the addition of 3,500 telephone representatives to answer questions about the status of Americans’ stimulus checks.

In June 2020, Spanberger led a bipartisan effort calling on the IRS to swiftly address its growing backlog of 2019 tax returns, which delayed tax return payments. Spanberger has also pressed the IRS to provide accurate and up-to-date information about the status of taxpayers’ stimulus checks and refunds.

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