AICPA Applauds Introduction of Legislation to Allow IRS To Postpone Deadlines Faster for Victims of Disaster

May 24, 2019

  • Legislation would grant IRS authority to postpone deadlines in disaster areas when state governors issue disaster declarations
  • IRS now has to wait for federal disaster declaration

Washington, D.C. (May 24, 2019) – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) applauded the introduction of identical House and Senate bills to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide authority to postpone certain deadlines by reason of state declared disasters or emergencies, H.R. 2976 and S. 1677.

“The AICPA thanks Representatives Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.) for introducing H.R. 2976 and Senators David Purdue (R-Ga.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) for introducing S. 1677,” said Edward S. Karl, AICPA vice president of taxation.  “We appreciate their leadership.”

“The current statute requires the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to wait for a federal disaster declaration, which cannot happen until after the disaster occurs, in order to grant deadline extensions,” he said.  “The governors of affected states have more discretion to act quickly to issue official disaster declarations, while it may be days or weeks after the state governor’s declaration before the federal disaster declaration is made.” 

Karl explained that because there are many due dates throughout the year, disasters often happen shortly before or after deadlines and that waiting for the IRS to issue relief causes taxpayers and tax practitioners unnecessary stress and burden when their homes, offices and records may have been destroyed or are inaccessible.

“We urge Congress to swiftly approve this legislation so that the IRS is allowed to offer disaster victims the certainty they need as soon as possible,” Karl said.

Karl also noted that this legislation does not eliminate the need for Congress to implement a permanent disaster tax relief bill, for which the accounting profession has long advocated, so that taxpayers are assured fair treatment in a timely way.