Oct 15, 2020 - Economy

2020's never-ending tax season

Illustration of an April calendar with all days marked the 15th

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Today — October 15 — marks a tax-filing deadline for many people every year who have been granted extensions, but this year's rules and dynamics are very different.

Why it matters: The IRS was closed for months as a result of COVID-19, which meant that a lot of refunds got delayed, a lot of tax payments didn't get processed, and a lot of taxpayers (and accountants) got put on perma-hold or disconnected when they called to ask questions.

Where it stands: In March, the "Service" (as tax insiders call it) extended the April 15 filing deadline to July 15.

  • From there, people were allowed to apply for an extension to Oct. 15, which some taxpayers routinely do anyway. (Tax filers who live abroad can get their own extension until Dec. 15.)
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in June that he was considering a second extension in light of the ongoing pandemic, but ultimately opted against it.
  • Per Bloomberg Tax: "A second delay would be akin to the IRS giving an interest-free loan to individuals and companies that owe the government money. Mnuchin said the first three-month delay injected about $300 billion of liquidity into the economy."

What they're saying: "It's the tax season that never ended," Ryan L. Losi, executive vice president of the boutique, high-end accounting firm PIASCIK, tells Axios.

  • "If you filed anything in the 4th quarter of 2019 or the 1st quarter of 2020, that basically sat on people’s desks [at the IRS] when everything shut down during COVID."
  • After the CARES Act was signed on March 27, "you had this 1,000-page bill in the middle of tax season" to study, Losi said. "For about 45 days, it was all about PPP and learning the statute."
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