WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee that oversees tax policy, and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) today led a bipartisan, bicameral group of colleagues in calling on the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide penalty relief for taxpayers amid extensive, ongoing processing backlogs at the IRS. The House version of the letter was led by U.S. Representatives Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.-38), Darin LaHood (R-Ill.-18), Richard Neal (D-Mass.-01), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.-16), Mike Thompson (D-Calif.-05), Tom Rice (R-S.C.-07), Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.-09), Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.-03), Judy Chu (D-Calif.-27), and Ron Estes (R-Kan.-04).
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has strained every federal agency, the impact on the IRS has been particularly severe,” wrote the group of lawmakers to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. “As of December 23, 2021, the IRS continued to have a backlog of 6 million Forms 1040 (Individual Income Tax Returns) and 2.3 million amended individual tax returns. In addition, the IRS has 2 million Forms 941 (Employer Quarterly Tax Returns) that must be processed before the nearly 500,000 amended Forms 941 can be processed.”
The lawmakers noted the delayed processing of amended returns has been particularly devastating to small businesses whose applications for emergency loans from the Small Business Administration have been caught in limbo nearly two years after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“Recognizing the extraordinary challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the IRS operating with antiquated technology and a constrained budget, we find the current situation alarming. We stand ready to support the IRS and look forward to hearing how we can help you address any obstacles facing the agency. However, we respectfully request the IRS consider the following measures to bring immediate relief to taxpayers, and reduce the backlog, during this tax filing season,” the lawmakers added. “...While we recognize no single action will alleviate issues that have resulted from difficulties at the IRS spanning administrations of both political parties, these steps would provide our constituents with greater certainty as we enter this year’s filing season.”
This effort is supported by the Tax Professionals United for Taxpayer Relief Coalition, which includes the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA), Padgett Business Services, H&R Block, Latino Tax Professional Association, National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), National Society of Tax Professionals (NSTP), National Society of Accountants (NSA), National Society of Black Certified Public Accountants (NSBCPA), National Conference of CPA Practitioners (NCCPAP), Diverse Organization of Firms Advocacy Committee, National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), and Prosperity Now.
“The Tax Professionals United for Taxpayer Relief Coalition is grateful to Senators Menendez and Cassidy and the 214 Members of Congress for their leadership towards making this tax filing season a little easier for taxpayers and practitioners. The Coalition represents millions of taxpayers from diverse backgrounds, including those representing Latinos, African Americans, small businesses and low-income taxpayers – Senators Menendez and Cassidy and their colleagues are fighting for these taxpayers. Together, we aim to reduce contact with an agency under strain. We ask that the IRS heed the unified voice of our stakeholder coalition and Members of Congress to grant taxpayers relief now.”
In addition to Sens. Menendez and Cassidy, the letter was signed by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
Joining Rep. Sánchez and the rest of the co-leads in signing the House version of the letter were Reps. John B. Larson (D-Conn.-01), Tom Reed (R-N.Y.-23), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.-03), Jason Smith (R-Mo.-08), Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.-07), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.-06), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.-26), Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.-02), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.-07), Brad R. Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-Ohio-02), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.-01), Jodey C. Arrington (R-Texas-19), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.-04), Kevin Hern (R-Okla.-01), Daniel T. Kildee (D-Mich.-05), Carol D. Miller (R-W.Va.-03), Brendan F. Boyle (D-Pa.-02), Gregory F. Murphy, M.D. (R-N.C.-03), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (D-Va.-08), Dwight Evans (D-Pa.-03), Bradley S. Schneider (D-Ill.-10), Thomas R. Suozzi (D-N.Y.-03), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.-20), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.-34), Steven Horsford (D-Nev.-04), Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-Ga-02), Ted Budd (R-N.C.-13), Cindy Axne (D-Iowa-03), Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.-02), Kat Cammack (R-Fla.-03), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.-13), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.-01), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.-12), Fred Upton (R-Mich.-06), Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.-04), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.-01), Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.-11), Don Bacon (R-Neb.-01), Richard Hudson (R-N.C.-08), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.-08), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.-12), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.-06), Bill Johnson (R-Ohio-06), Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.-02), Maria Salazar (R-Fla.-27), Angie Craig (D-Minn.-02), David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.-01), Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio-07), Michael C. Burgess (R-Texas-26), Marilyn Strickland (D-Wash.-10), David Kustoff (R-Tenn.-08), Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.-01), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.-13), Michael Waltz (R-Fla.-06), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.-02), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.-05), Bill Posey (R-Fla.-08), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.-17), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.-04), Carlos A. Gimenez (R-Fla.26), Mike Levin (D-Calif.-49), Gus M. Bilirakis (R-Fla.-12), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.-03), Mark Amodei (R-Nev.-02), John H. Rutherford (R-Fla.-4), Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.-02), Lucille Roybal Allard (D-Calif.-40), David Trone (D-Md.-06), Susan Wild (D-Pa.-07), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.-02), Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.-31), Kathy Manning (D-N.C.-06), John R. Carter (R-Texas-31), Jared Golden (D-Maine-02), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.-23), Dina Titus, (D-Nev.-03), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.-05), John Rose (R-Tenn.-06), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.-09), Mike Doyle (D-Pa.-18), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.-04), Adam Smith (D-Wash.-09), David G. Valadao (D-Calif.-21), Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (D-N.C.-12), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.-09), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas-01), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.-16), Mike Bost (R-Ill.-12), Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.-11), James R. Langevin (D-R.I.-02), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine-01), Charlie Crist (D-Fla.-13), Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.-08), Robert J. Wittman (R-Va.-01), André Carson (D-Ind.-07), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.-26), Sharice L. Davids (D-Kan.-03), Eric A. "Rick" Crawford (R-Ark.-01), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.-11), Jim Banks (R-Ind.-03), Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.-04), Steven M. Palazzo (R-Miss.-04), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.-44), Larry Bucshon M.D. (R-Ind.-08), Bill Foster (D-Ill.-11), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.-07), Chris Pappas (D-N.H.-01), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.-05), Van Taylor (R-Texas-03), James Comer (R-Ky.-01), Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.-05), Tracey Mann (R-Kan.-01), Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.-04), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.-05), Deborah Ross (D-N.C.-02), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.-02), Joseph D. Morelle (D-N.Y.-25), John Yarmuth (D-Ky.-03), Andy Barr (R-Ky.-06), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.-06), Don Young (R-Alaska-At Large), John Katko (R-N.Y.-24), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.-42), Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.-10), Filemon Vela (D-Texas-34), Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.-11), Jason Crow (D-Colo.-06), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.-05), French Hill (R-Ark.-02), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.-06), Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.-17), David Price (D-N.C.-04), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.-03), Dan Meuser (R-Pa.-09), David Rouzer (R-N.C.-07), Fred Keller (R-Pa.-12), Rick W. Allen (R-Ga.-12), Scott Franklin (R-Fla.-15), Mike Carey (R-Ohio-15), Garrett Graves (R-La.-06), Karen Bass (D-Calif.-37), Barry Moore (R-Ala.-02), Grace F. Napolitano (D-Calif.-32), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.-12), Kim Schrier M.D. (D-Wash.-08), G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.-01), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.-04), Joe Neguse (D-Colo.-02), Peter Welch (D-Vt.-At Large), Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.-08), Katie Porter (D-Calif.-45), Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.-05), Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.-29), Andy Levin (D-Mich.-09), Austin Scott (R-Ga.-08), Ronny L. Jackson (R-Texas-13), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.-04), Paul D. Tonko (D-N.Y.-20), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.-03), J. Luis Correa (D-Calif.-46), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.-02), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.-05), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.-18), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio-13), Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.-02), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.-07), Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.-06), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.-04), Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-Pa.-15), Dan Bishop (R-N.C.-09), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.-16), Peter Meijer (R-Mich.-03), James P. McGovern (D-Mass.-02), Veronica Escobar (D-Texas-16), Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.-08), Lori Trahan (D-Mass.-03), Nikema Williams (D-Ga.-05), Susie Lee (D-Nev.-03), and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.-06).
Full text of the letter can be found HERE and below.
Dear Secretary Yellen and Commissioner Rettig,
As the 2022 tax filing season fast approaches, we are concerned about the unprecedented challenges facing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the ongoing impact on our constituents. While the COVID-19 pandemic has strained every federal agency, the impact on the IRS has been particularly severe. As of December 23, 2021, the IRS continued to have a backlog of 6 million Forms 1040 (Individual Income Tax Returns) and 2.3 million amended individual tax returns. In addition, the IRS has 2 million Forms 941 (Employer Quarterly Tax Returns) that must be processed before the nearly 500,000 amended Forms 941 can be processed.
In many cases, the delayed processing of amended returns has been devastating to small businesses in our communities whose applications for emergency loans from the Small Business Administration have been caught in limbo nearly two years after the COVID-19 pandemic began. The situation has deteriorated to a point that the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) will no longer accept cases solely involving the processing of amended returns. This has made it impossible for frustrated taxpayers to find any help. When our constituents cannot get assistance from the IRS and TAS, they contact us, and we have our hands tied at this point as well.
Recognizing the extraordinary challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the IRS operating with antiquated technology and a constrained budget, we find the current situation alarming. We stand ready to support the IRS and look forward to hearing how we can help you address any obstacles facing the agency. However, we respectfully request the IRS consider the following measures to bring immediate relief to taxpayers, and reduce the backlog, during this tax filing season:
While we recognize no single action will alleviate issues that have resulted from difficulties at the IRS spanning administrations of both political parties, these steps would provide our constituents with greater certainty as we enter this year’s filing season. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter and the dedication of the IRS and Treasury personnel to improving the filing process in these extraordinary times.