Tax Deadline 2020 Extension Considered As Coronavirus Relief Measure

Wednesday, March 11th 2020, 11:29 am
By: CBS News

The Trump administration may direct the Internal Revenue Service to delay the April 15 tax filing deadline as part of the U.S. government's efforts to ease the economic impact of the novel coronavirus, an administration official told CBS News.

The news comes a day after some Democrats in Congress asked the IRS to consider a delay given the possibility of disruption from the outbreak.

"[W]e are concerned about the ability of the IRS to provide taxpayer assistance and process returns, as well as the ability of taxpayers, free tax-preparation sites, and tax professionals to meet the filing deadline," members of the House Ways and Means Committee wrote in a letter on Tuesday.

They also asked the IRS to consider waiving penalties for late filing or late payments for communities affected by coronavirus.

The agency has pushed back the tax filing deadline in the past, as it did two years ago, when the website to make payments suffered multiple outages hours before the deadline. 

Congress members noted in the letter Tuesday that the IRS already has power to extend filing deadlines by up to six months, and to waive penalties.

So far this year, tax return filings have run mostly on schedule. The IRS had received 59 million tax returns as of the end of February, the same number as it had this time last year. That's just over a third of all the returns it expects to process this filing season.

However, the potential for disruption is high with the spread of the coronavirus, as many Americans rely on IRS field offices and volunteer centers for help with their tax filings.

The White House has also floated a number of possible measures to mitigate the economic fallout of the coronavirus, including a temporary payroll tax cut.