AICPA Addresses Criticism of Tax Filing Deadline Postponement

March 17, 2021

Washington, D.C. (March 16, 2021) – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) released the following statement in response to criticism of postponing the April 15th filing and payment deadline for the 2021 tax season:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created immeasurable hardship for millions of taxpayers and tax practitioners, making it incredibly difficult for them to meet the April 15th filing and payment deadline. The IRS must not overlook the impact the pandemic has had on this year’s tax filing season.

“In the midst of a global pandemic, parents are straining to balance remote work with educating their children at home and businesses are struggling to remain open.

“Even the IRS – faced with a significant mail processing backlog, a delayed start of the 2021 tax season, inundated phone lines, and a new round of COVID-19 relief payments – is overwhelmed. Denying a postponement of this filing and payment deadline disregards and further exacerbates the continued difficulties being faced by these families and businesses.

“Opponents of a deadline postponement fail to consider that while any taxpayer has the ability to file for an extension, the process can itself be unduly burdensome:

  • Taxpayers must properly estimate their 2020 tax liability using the information available to them when preparing the request for extension on Form 2848
  • Taxpayers who do not pay the correct amount of tax with the extension request will owe interest and possibly penalties
  • If taxpayers do not compute a “proper” amount of tax on their extension request, it can be deemed invalid by the IRS

“In reality, the extension filing process can be very challenging, even for those not dealing with the pandemic, as gathering and computing the extension payment requires nearly as much work as filing a return.

“AICPA also understands the revenue dilemma many states face; a payment and filing deadline postponement to June 15th would still help many states maintain revenue levels within their current fiscal years. Most states should be able to adopt a similar deadline to the federal deadline should they choose to.

“To claim there are no issues with retaining the April 15th filing and payment deadline does not reflect the taxpayers’ perspective. We must not minimize or trivialize the hardships of taxpayers and tax professionals or the urgent need for deferment from an arduous filing environment.”

About the American Institute of CPAs

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is the world’s largest member association representing the CPA profession, with more than 431,000 members in the United States and worldwide, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting. The AICPA sets ethical standards for its members and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, and federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination, offers specialized credentials, builds the pipeline of future talent and drives professional competency development to advance the vitality, relevance and quality of the profession.

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BACKGROUND:

  • In a letter sent earlier last month, the AICPA called attention to the hardship that millions of taxpayers and tax practitioners are facing while making good faith efforts to comply with their tax obligations. The AICPA called for relief from underpayment and late payment penalties for the 2020 taxable year.
  • Late last month, the AICPA sent a letter urging the Department of the Treasury and the IRS to provide taxpayers with more certainty and stability by announcing any pending tax filing and payment deadline postponements. Additionally, the AICPA called for Treasury and the IRS to provide underpayment and late payment penalty relief, delay collection activities and expand the temporary e-signature relief to the millions of taxpayers affected and working through the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A subsequent statement released by the AICPA again urged action by Treasury and the IRS and reiterated the need for filing and payment extension and urgency of doing it now.