IRS Commissioner: No Plans to Extend Tax-Filing Season Like Last Year

February 23, 2021 Updated: February 23, 2021

Americans shouldn’t expect another extended tax-filing season, according to testimony given by the head of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tuesday.

“We have no present plans to extend the filing season,” IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig told lawmakers in Washington.

“Keep in mind, it creates a lot of confusion for taxpayers. It also backs up the Internal Revenue Service. As many of you know, for over a month, we actually shut down our systems to import stuff from the prior year so we can have a smooth filing season in the succeeding year,” he added.

Individuals can file for extensions on a case-by-case basis, as normal. If they do, they’ll have until Oct. 15 to file.

The IRS last year extended the regular deadline by three months to July 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee last week asked Rettig to extend this year’s deadline, saying the extension in 2020 helped both taxpayers and the tax agency.

“The extension deferred federal income tax payments without penalties or interest, providing important and necessary relief to taxpayers and practitioners. Further, it meant that taxpayers did not have to file forms or contact the IRS with respect to needed extensions, thereby lessening the demands on the IRS during a challenging filing season,” they wrote.

Internal Revenue Service Headquarters (IRS) Building in Washington
The Internal Revenue Service Headquarters Building in Washington on March 8, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Tax season opened late this year, on Feb. 12. The start was delayed to give the IRS time to do additional programming and testing of systems following tax law changes implemented late last year.

“We are troubled that this reduced timeline will exacerbate difficulties for many taxpayers who may be unprepared for the amount due with their return and will have no savings to turn to and less time to consider their options,” the Democrats added.

Rettig told the House Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government on Tuesday that he was aware of the requests.

The testimony came a day after the IRS said people affected by the winter storms in Texas would have their deadlines extended to July 15.

“The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. Therefore, taxpayers do not need to contact the agency to get this relief,” the agency said in a statement.

“However, if an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS that has an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date falling within the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.”

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