The Trump administration announced on Friday that Americans will have an additional three months to file income taxes as cases of the coronavirus continue to climb across the country and wreak havoc on the economy.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made the announcement, saying he was acting at the behest of President Trump.
“We are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15,” Mnuchin wrote in a tweet. “All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.”
However, Mnuchin added that Americans who expect tax refunds should still file now.
“I encourage all taxpayers who may have tax refunds to file now to get your money,” the treasury secretary said.
The White House had initially said tax payments would be deferred for 90 days but that U.S. taxpayers must still file their returns by the traditional deadline of April 15 unless an applicant filed for the six-month extension. Mnuchin said that would have left $300 billion in the economy temporarily.
The move comes after Republican and Democrat lawmakers called on the administration to delay the filing deadline
House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal wrote to Mnuchin on Thursday arguing that the separate deadlines for filing returns and paying them “will potentially create a great deal of confusion for taxpayers accustomed to having only one deadline.”
Meanwhile, Republican Senators John Thune of South Dakota and Steve Daines of Montana along with Senator Angus King, a Maine Independent, introduced legislation together that would extend the filing deadline to July 15.
“Treasury’s decision to extend the tax payment deadline from April 15 to July 15 was an important first step, but it only makes sense to also extend the tax filing deadline itself,” Thune, the Senate majority whip, said of the proposal. “There’s enough confusion amid this outbreak as it is, so I believe it’s incumbent upon Congress to provide as much clarity and relief as possible to American families.”
The coronavirus, a respiratory illness that began to spread in Wuhan, China, has infected more than 12,000 people in the U.S., where at least 195 people have died.
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