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Calls to extend the tax-filing season grow as April 15 deadline looms

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With the April 15 tax-filing deadline a month away, calls to extend the season are growing.

On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., sent a letter to the IRS and Treasury Department urging them to move the deadline to July 15.

The letter, signed by more than 100 lawmakers, comes about a week after Rep. Pascrell and House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., called on the IRS to extend the filing deadline due to the pandemic and recent changes from the American Rescue Plan which was signed into law March 11.

"Almost a year later, we are still grappling with the massive economic, logistical and health challenges wrought by this devastating pandemic," the letter states. "Millions of stressed-out taxpayers, businesses and preparers would appreciate an extension of the deadline to file their 2020 tax returns."

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The IRS started the tax-filing season later than usual this year — it began on Feb. 12 to give the agency time to prepare after it was tasked with sending out the second round of economic impact payments.

Now, the IRS is in the middle of filing season, grappling with changes on taxing unemployment income from the latest Covid bill and in charge of sending out yet another round of stimulus checks. This has overwhelmed the agency, according to the letter. The IRS is answering only 25% of phone calls and has received and processed fewer returns than at the same time last year.

Through March 5, the IRS had received nearly 56 million returns and processed nearly 49 million, according to the latest data. Last year, the agency had received nearly 68 million returns and processed 65 million by March 6.

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Others have also called on the IRS to give Americans more time to file their taxes. The American Institute of CPAs on March 4 sent its own letter to the IRS and Treasury Department calling on the agencies to extend the filing deadline to June 15. In February, AARP sent its own letter to the House Ways and Means Committee asking for the tax-filing deadline to be postponed.

So far, neither the IRS nor the Treasury Department have indicated that the April 15 tax filing deadline will be extended.

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