The Internal Revenue Service is delaying the traditional tax filing deadline from April 15 until May 17, according to the House Ways and Means Committee.
The IRS and Treasury Department didn’t immediately comment Wednesday or provide further details. But the committee confirmed and applauded the move, which provides added time for both taxpayers and the IRS alike given the pressure from the pandemic.
"This extension is absolutely necessary to give Americans some needed flexibility in a time of unprecedented crisis," said Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass. and Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., chairman of the panel's oversight subcommittee.
The extension comes after an intense year for the chronically underfunded IRS. The pandemic hit in the middle of last year's tax filing season, setting the agency back in terms of processing. The IRS has also been a key player in doling out government relief payments, and is helping to send out the third round of payments in the middle of the current tax filing season.
Additionally, the extension gives the IRS time to issue guidance on recent tax law changes. The American Rescue Plan excludes the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits from federal taxes for those making less than $150,000.
"Never before has the law changed so substantially in the middle of tax filing season," Patrick Thomas, director of Notre Dame Law School’s Tax Clinic, said in a statement.
The IRS must issue guidance for taxpayers and tax preparers alike as millions of returns already filed likely do not account for this change.
A number of lawmakers and professionals from the tax community have urged the tax filing season be extended to accommodate for these pressures.
IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig is expected to speak to the House Ways and Means Committee tomorrow about how the IRS is managing this filing season and the need for this extension.