July 11, 2020 - Douglas Myser

Treasury might alter tax date. Will he or won't he ? That's the question on the minds of taxpayers and tax professionals alike as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continues to mull extending the tax filing deadline for 2020. As it currently stands, the 2019 tax filing deadline remains July 15th, 2020. Last year, the Internal Revenue Service received and processed nearly 156 million returns. About 137 million were received before the tax filing deadline. The remainder--about 10%-- were filed with an extension. That's in keeping with the usual expectations for extended returns. Despite the extraordinary circumstances surrounding this tax season, the IRS has already received nearly 137 million returns in 2020--that number on its own is a bit misleading. That number includes tax returns that were filed to obtain Economic Impact Payments, or stimulus payments, by those who would no t usually file. Still, numbers in previous weeks have tracked at a higher rate than expected, and a few million more taxpayers could likely file before the July 15th, 2020 deadline, bringing us level with 2019. Treasury might alter tax date.

Mnuchin noted as much, telling those watching the Bloomberg Invest Global forum that most Americans have already filed their returns, nearly a month ahead of the deadline. "I'm pleased to report that returns are only down 10%  year over year, and refunds are down only 10%," Mnuchin said. "The majority of those people that needed to get refunds got them." As a result, the IRS has not made plans to extend the July 15 filing deadline. However, Mnuchin hasn't ruled out the possibility, saying "It's something I'm thinking about." He said that he would continue to consider the idea as the date approaches.

Many tax professionals wish that the decision would happen a lot more quickly. Offices in some states--like Pennsylvania--are just now re-opening, while others remain shut as the coronavirus numbers continue to climb. Some taxpayers have not been able to meet with preparers and will likely require extensions if the filing date in not extended.

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