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Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Susan Wild (PA-07)

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Susan Wild (D-PA) sent a letter to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig, urging the IRS to address the months-long backlog and continued delays in processing 2019 income tax filings. For many Pennsylvanians, these delays have also impeded delivery of their Economic Impact Payment(s), which were intended as direct, immediate economic relief to the American people more than seven months ago.

“For months, this has been the number one issue constituents have contacted my office about. People call us daily who filed their tax return in March, or even February, and still have not received their refund, their Economic Impact Payment, or any additional guidance from the IRS,” Wild said. “In the middle of a devastating economic crisis, this is absolutely unacceptable. Pennsylvanians need answers, and they need the financial relief they are owed.”

In addition to the lack of communication from the IRS causing significant confusion for taxpayers who are concerned their filings were lost or never received, their delayed processing of 2019 tax returns has prevented some eligible Pennsylvanians from receiving their EIP. Some taxpayers, who are eligible for an EIP based on their 2019 income, have been deemed ineligible because the IRS is referring to the income shown on their 2018 tax return, as the tax return processing delay has prevented the most up-to-date financial information from being considered. Although the IRS is informing taxpayers caught in this situation that they may be able to receive an EIP next year after filing their 2020 taxes, families need relief now and should not be prevented from receiving an EIP for which they are currently eligible.

“The purpose of the EIPs that Congress appropriated is to help families by providing emergency relief as soon as possible during this pandemic. Now, taxpayers are faced with uncertainty, inadequate support from the IRS, and Congressional staff who are being stalled when trying to assist them,” wrote Wild in the letter. “The lack of communication from the IRS is also raising concerns among taxpayers that their tax return may have been misplaced or lost, and, if that is the case, whether they will be penalized for this in the coming months. Furthermore, the negative consequences that the delayed processing of 2019 tax returns is having on some individuals’ ability to receive an EIP must be addressed.”

Full text of the letter is available HERE and below.

The Honorable Charles P. Rettig

Commissioner

Internal Revenue Service

1111 Constitution Avenue Northwest

Washington, D.C. 20224

Dear Commissioner Rettig,

Thank you for your efforts to process Americans’ 2019 income tax returns and to implement the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides much-need financial relief to families and communities. I write to you to express my deep concerns regarding the IRS’s continued delay in processing some 2019 income tax filings, and the effect this is having on some of my constituents’ eligibility to receive economic impact payments (EIPs). I urge you to address these issues as soon as possible. At a time of great financial hardship for so many people in our country, families can no longer wait to receive the tax returns and EIPs that will provide emergency relief during this difficult time.

Many Pennsylvanians are experiencing ongoing challenges and delays when attempting to receive their 2019 tax refund and their EIP. The CARES Act, which was enacted on March 27, 2020, authorized emergency economic impact payments (EIPs) of up to $1,200 for individuals plus $500 for each dependent child. I recognize that the disbursement of EIPs has been a huge undertaking for the IRS, especially while the agency is also responsible for processing the 2019 tax returns of millions of Americans. However, I request that you address these delays as soon as possible. Pennsylvanians cannot wait any longer to hear updates on their tax returns, EIPs, and information regarding when they will receive the emergency financial relief they are owed.

I have heard from many constituents who mailed the IRS their 2019 paper tax filing in the winter and early spring months of 2020 and still have not received their tax return. While some have used the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the IRS website to check the status of their returns, many of these taxpayers are not able to receive an update on the website. Numerous constituents are unable to obtain any information about the status of their tax documents.

When members of my staff have contacted the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service to submit an inquiry on behalf of a constituent, they have received a generic email in response. This response states that the Taxpayer Advocate Service was unable to locate the tax return in its system, meaning that the return has not yet been processed. The dearth of information that taxpayers are able to receive directly from the IRS and that my staff can learn from the Taxpayer Advocate Service is wholly inadequate. Many taxpayers experiencing this delay filed their taxes in February or March of this year, and now, eight months later, are unable to obtain even an acknowledgment of receipt or status update from the IRS.

In addition, further raising the urgency of this issue is that the IRS’s delayed processing of 2019 tax returns is preventing some of my constituents from receiving the EIP for which they are eligible. Some taxpayers are being deemed ineligible for an EIP because the IRS is referring to the income shown on their 2018 tax return. However, these taxpayers may be eligible for an EIP based on their 2019 income, but the IRS’s tax return processing delay has prevented this up-to-date financial information from being considered. Although the IRS is informing taxpayers caught in this situation that they may be able to receive an EIP next year after filing their 2020 taxes, families need relief now and should not be prevented from receiving an EIP for which they are currently eligible. In these difficult economic times, it is incumbent upon the IRS to use the most accurate financial information to determine an individual’s immediate eligibility for an EIP.

I urge you to address these dual issues as quickly as possible. Individuals who filed their taxes several months ago have waited long enough to receive their tax refund, or, at a bare minimum, to receive a specific status update from the IRS. The IRS has not provided a timeline for the processing of these mailed paper tax returns. This has left some taxpayers in an indefinite state of limbo. The lack of communication from the IRS is also raising concerns among taxpayers that their tax return may have been misplaced or lost, and, if that is the case, whether they will be penalized for this in the coming months. Furthermore, the negative consequences that the delayed processing of 2019 tax returns is having on some individuals’ ability to receive an EIP must be addressed.

The purpose of the EIPs that Congress appropriated is to help families by providing emergency relief as soon as possible during this pandemic. Now, taxpayers are faced with uncertainty, inadequate support from the IRS, and Congressional staff who are being stalled when trying to assist them. Pennsylvanians must not be forced to wait indefinitely for the IRS to provide the substantive guidance, updates, and financial relief to which they are entitled.

Thank you for your consideration and attention to these matters.

Sincerely,

Susan Wild, Member of Congress

 

 

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