The federal tax filing deadline should be pushed to Oct. 15 according to the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), an employee group that represents thousands of employees at the Internal Revenue Service. NTEU first called for the October tax deadline extension two months ago as the health crisis worsened.
“It has been eight weeks since we proposed giving taxpayers an additional six months to complete their 2019 federal returns, and it remains painfully clear they still need more time to file and employees need more time to safely process those returns,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon.
Treasury and IRS officials initially extended the deadline from April 15 to July 15, but current economic and health conditions suggest that another three months, to Oct. 15, is necessary, Reardon said.
“Depression-level unemployment, more than 1.3 million cases of coronavirus and 82,000 deaths are clear signs that Americans are carrying a stressful load right now and the least we can do is give them a few more months to do their taxes,” Reardon said.
NTEU originally suggested Oct. 15 because that is the deadline for anyone who asks for an extension in a normal tax filing season.
NTEU believes utomatically extending the deadline for everyone this year would also help protect the men and women who work on the frontlines at the IRS, opening mail, providing customer service and handling tax documents.
“With less of a time crunch, the agency can gradually ramp up agency operations in a way that keeps employees at a safe physical distance from each other at the workplace,” Reardon said. “It also buys the agency more time to acquire adequate supplies of personal protective equipment and build work schedules that allow for thorough cleaning and disinfecting between shifts.”
According to NTEU, since the beginning of the pandemic, thousands of IRS employees have maintained operations through a constantly growing telework program. However, some jobs are not telework-eligible, and the IRS is returning more of those employees to the workplace precisely because of the ongoing tax filing season.
“Our schools, our work, our social lives and our entire economy have been paralyzed, so it makes good sense that we alleviate some of the pressure by giving everyone until Oct. 15 to file their federal tax returns,” Reardon said.