Top Republican Says IRS Should Consider Extending Deadline

( Texas Republican Rep. Kevin Brady urged the IRS to “seriously consider” extending this year’s tax-filing deadline for a second year, as millions of Americans continue to struggle financially.

Brady, who is the highest-ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, said that the IRS currently has a huge workload and a backlog of paper tax returns from 2020 that have still yet to be processed. And with the latest $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill requiring the IRS to facilitate the transfer of yet another COVID relief check to most Americans, it’s going to cause a massive workload increase.

“They are trying to make changes to accommodate that overwhelming work responsibility right now,” Brady recently told reporters on a phone call. “I’d be very open to extending the tax-filing deadline. I think it could be helpful.”

Rep. Brady isn’t the only one calling for it, either. New Jersey Rep. Richard Neal, a Democrat from Massachusetts, also urged the IRS to delay the April 15 deadline for filing because of the pandemic. Neal is the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Last year, the deadline was extended to July 15, and should the proposal gain enough support, could be extended for a similar period of time this year also.

“Many Americans continue to face the same health and economic challenges that necessitated an extension last year,” Neal said in a joint statement with Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. “Facing enormous strain and anxiety, taxpayers need flexibility now. We demand that the IRS announce an extension as soon as possible.”

All is not certain, though. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said in February that another extension would cause further backlogs and cause confusion for taxpayers.

But in the middle of a pandemic and a continuing economic crisis, it’s hard to defend fining taxpayers for filing their taxes or paying late.

Writing for Bloomberg, Alexis Leondis also said that the COVID-19 relief bill “adds new layers of confusion to a filing season that fell behind schedule before it even started.”

“One of the main reasons to again give filers extra time after April 15 is the Covid-19 relief bill. The legislation calls for making some of the unemployment benefits Americans received in 2020 exempt from taxes. It’s a last-minute switch that will affect as many as 40 million taxpayers, some of whom have already filed their returns (the filing season started Feb. 12),” she wrote.

Now would probably be a good time for President Joe Biden to do something useful and tell the IRS to do the right thing.