Ahead of Tax Day on Wednesday, Katko & Brindisi Call on IRS to Provide Flexibility to Struggling Families, Deliver Timely Refunds

Syracuse, NY— As the nation approaches the tax filing deadline this Wednesday, July 15th, U.S. Reps. John Katko (R, NY-24) and Anthony Brindisi (D, NY-22) today called on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to deploy a strategy that provides necessary flexibility to struggling taxpayers and allows for the efficient delivery of tax refunds amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Central and Upstate New Yorkers working to file their taxes ahead of the July 15th deadline, Reps. Katko and Brindisi called on the IRS today to take all necessary steps to inform taxpayers of available flexibility and relief options, including options to apply for further filing extensions or seek taxpayer assistance. Given the widespread impact of the pandemic, the lawmakers stressed the importance of the IRS remaining responsive to the pervasive financial hardships facing local working families and businesses.

Additionally, after hearing from constituents who have experienced delays in receiving their most recent tax refunds, Reps. Katko and Brindisi urged the IRS to significantly expand efforts to reduce the current backlog for 2019 tax returns. With many working families counting on their tax refunds to get through difficult economic conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the lawmakers called on the IRS to ensure taxpayers have access to timely updates on the status of their return.

In a letter to the IRS, Reps. Katko and Brindisi stated, “As the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continues to respond to the unique challenges presented by this crisis, we write to bring specific attention to the needs of families and businesses in our districts that have filed their taxes or are preparing to do so. As we approach the tax filing deadline on July 15, 2020, it is crucial that the IRS deploy a comprehensive strategy to assist struggling taxpayers and ensure an efficient process for processing and delivering tax refunds. Given the potential long-term impacts of COVID-19 on IRS operations, it is critical that these measures factor into a comprehensive agency-wide strategy to maintain accessible services for American families and businesses through the duration of this pandemic. The development of such a strategy would represent an important step in providing certainty to our nation’s taxpayers and ensuring IRS operations remain responsive to their needs.”

In March, Reps. Katko and Brindisi led a successful bipartisan effort with members of New York’s Congressional to urge the IRS to move the 2020 tax filing deadline to July. More recently, the lawmakers successfully pushed the IRS to take action to address confusion surrounding the agency’s delivery of Economic Impact Payment (EIP) debit cards.

The full text of the request can be found below:

Dear Commissioner Rettig,

Thank you for your work to provide relief to American taxpayers during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. As the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continues to respond to the unique challenges presented by this crisis, we write to bring specific attention to the needs of families and businesses in our districts that have filed their taxes or are preparing to do so. As we approach the tax filing deadline on July 15, 2020, it is crucial that the IRS deploy a comprehensive strategy to assist struggling taxpayers and ensure an efficient process for processing and delivering tax refunds.

In response to the dire economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, flexibility and support provided through our nation’s tax system has played a critical role in alleviating the significant financial strains currently facing communities across the country. For this reason, we appreciate efforts by the IRS to extend filing deadlines for taxpayers early on, as well as the agency’s administration of relief measures passed by Congress, such as Economic Impact Payments, Employee Retention Tax Credits, and employer tax credits for paid sick and family leave. These efforts have provided necessary assistance to American families and businesses during this unprecedented crisis.

Sustained federal support is essential to helping taxpayers across the country as they work to overcome the significant challenges that COVID-19 poses to nearly all aspects of daily life. For this reason, it is critically important that the IRS remain responsive to the pervasive financial hardships facing many American families and businesses. As the extended tax filing deadline quickly approaches, we ask that the IRS take all necessary steps to inform taxpayers of available flexibility and relief options, including their ability to apply for further filing extensions or seek taxpayer assistance through the agency. Given the widespread impacts of this pandemic, it is critical that the IRS work to make these services as accessible as possible.

In addition to supporting Americans that are working to file their taxes, the IRS has a responsibility to ensure the efficient delivery of tax refunds during this crisis. Although we fully support the deployment of necessary measures to protect the health of IRS employees, prolonged delays in the processing and issuance of tax refunds have created significant financial uncertainty for our constituents. Our offices have received consistent outreach from families who are counting on their tax return amid the difficult economic conditions created by the pandemic, and it is critical that the Federal Government quickly provide these taxpayers with the funds they are entitled to.

For this reason, we request that the IRS significantly expand their efforts to reduce the current backlog in 2019 tax returns and ensure that taxpayers have access to timely updates on the status of their tax refund. Given the potential long-term impacts of COVID-19 on IRS operations, it is critical that these measures factor into a comprehensive agency-wide strategy to maintain accessible services for American families and businesses through the duration of this pandemic. The development of such a strategy would represent an important step in providing certainty to our nation’s taxpayers and ensuring IRS operations remain responsive to their needs.

Thank you for your time and attention to this request. We look forward to your response.