As Effects of COVID-19 Grow, Tester Doubles Down on Push for IRS to Extend Tax Filing Deadline

Senator’s 2nd letter in 7 days urges the Treasury to take unilateral action to support Montana workers and businesses

Following the Treasury Department’s announcement that it would extend the deadline for tax payments but not for filing paperwork in the wake of the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Tester today sent his second letter in seven days to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin demanding he formally and officially extend the deadline for individuals and businesses to file their 2019 taxes.

“We are writing to ask that you formally and officially extend the deadline for individuals and businesses to file their 2019 taxes to, at a minimum, July 15,” wrote Tester and 20 of his colleagues. “Your current guidance allows taxpayers such an extension only for payments, but the trajectory of the spread of COVID-19, and the continued precipitous economic downturn, require that the filing deadline also be moved back automatically for all filers. We worry that the existing plan is unduly cumbersome to Americans already faced with economic uncertainty.

They continued, “[Extending the deadline] will provide much-needed relief to elderly and low-income tax filers…It would help many American taxpayers if they knew they could file on July 15 without needing to ask for extensions or worry about late payments.

Tester, along with 17 of his colleagues, first urged Mnuchin on March 11 to take this critical step to deliver relief to Montanans experiencing the brunt of the economic effects of this outbreak. Because the Treasury Secretary has the power to unilaterally extend the filing deadline, he could act quickly and decisively to provide support to hard hit workers and businesses without the necessity of any additional legislation from Congress.

“In light of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are writing to urge you to provide significant flexibility on the April 15 tax filing season deadline for individual taxpayers,” wrote Tester and his colleagues. “Families need to focus on making sure they are prepared for this public health threat rather than expending time and energy to comply with this deadline.”

Tester has led the charge in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. He has introduced legislation to guarantee testing for the virus will be at zero cost, and he passed bipartisan legislation through the Senate to ensure veterans GI benefits are protected during the outbreak. He has also doubled down on his efforts to press the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Indian Health Service to provide veterans, VA healthcare staff, and Tribes with access to proper resources and information.

Read Tester’s full letter HERE.