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Politics IRS chief says agency has no present plans to extend tax-filing season

20:29  23 february  2021
20:29  23 february  2021 Source:   thehill.com

Pandemic, stimulus checks complicate tax-filing season for millions

  Pandemic, stimulus checks complicate tax-filing season for millions The tax-filing season is now underway after a delayed start, and it's expected to bring challenges and confusion as taxpayers and the IRS navigate pandemic-related issues, including some pertaining to stimulus checks.The IRS started accepting 2020 tax returns on Friday, a couple of weeks later than the usual, after a coronavirus relief law was enacted in late December.Many Americans saw significant changes to the amount and sources of their income last year because of the pandemic, and they will have to file returns that take those into account.

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said Tuesday that the agency doesn't have any current plans to extend the tax-filing deadline nationally after a group of House Democrats urged him to do so last week.

a man wearing a suit and tie: IRS chief says agency has no present plans to extend tax-filing season © Washington Post/Pool IRS chief says agency has no present plans to extend tax-filing season

"We have no present plans to extend the filing season," Rettig said at a hearing held by the House Appropriations Committee's financial services and general government subpanel. "Keep in mind, it creates a lot of confusion for taxpayers. It also backs up the Internal Revenue Service."

Last year's tax-filing season was extended from April 15 to July 15 because of the coronavirus pandemic. A group of Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee last week requested that the agency take similar action again this year. The lawmakers said that many taxpayers are facing the same pandemic-related challenges that prompted last year's extension, and noted that this year's filing season started later than usual.

Democrats offer bills to boost IRS audits of rich, corporations

  Democrats offer bills to boost IRS audits of rich, corporations House Democrats on Thursday rolled out legislation to boost tax enforcement on wealthy individuals and corporations.Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), the deputy whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, unveiled a bill that calls for an additional $100 billion in funding for the IRS over 10 years, with $70 billion of that money going to enforcement. The bill would require the IRS to use the additional enforcement funds to increase audits of the wealthy and corporations.

Rettig acknowledged the calls for an extension and said the agency is looking at the issue.

"We have our eyes on it. We're aware of it. We're aware of people who are asking for it," he said.

However, Rettig added that the private sector started working on this year's filing season in January.

"They're well into it," he said.

Rettig noted that individuals can request extensions until Oct. 15.

While the IRS has not issued an extension of the filing deadline for all Americans, the agency announced on Monday that it is extending the deadline to June 15 for individuals and businesses in Texas as a result of winter storms in the state.

One challenge during the current filing season is that many people who received unemployment benefits this year for the first time because of the pandemic did not realize that the benefits are taxable. As a result, there are many taxpayers who owe money to the IRS that they did not anticipate.

Rettig said that people in this situation should contact the IRS about payment-relief options. He noted that people can apply for payment plans online.

"I would hope that they would reach out to us for some flexibilities in terms of payment arrangements," he said.

The commissioner added that he expects IRS employees "to be understanding, patient and do the appropriate thing."

Biden's COVID-19 relief plan includes a child tax credit boost popular with Democrats but a 'nightmare' to Republicans .
Democrats' proposal would expand the tax credit from $2,000 to $3,600 and expand eligibility to more families.Democrats want to increase the child tax credit up to $3,600 per child under age 6 and $3,000 for children up to age 17 for one year to help combat the economic damage of the pandemic. Some liberals are pushing even further to make the tax credit permanent. The current tax credit is up to $2,000 per child.

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