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IRS will delay tax filing due date until May 17

Associated Press Mar 17, 2021
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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 additional time for both taxpayers and the IRS, given the pressure of 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 — the recently signed COVID-19 relief bill — excludes the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits from federal taxes for those making less than $150,000 annually.

“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 on Thursday about how the IRS is managing this filing season and the need for this extension.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.

U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

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