IRS rule requiring tax returns for coronavirus rebates sparks pushback

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.Congressional lawmakers are criticizing an Internal Revenue Service requirement that seniors and other groups file a “simple” tax return in order to receive economic relief payments in response to the coronavirus pandemic that has forced massive layoffs and furloughed millions of workers.The $2.2. trillion coronavirus response bill signed by President Trump last week sets aside recovery funds for workers and businesses squeezed by unprecedented restrictions to combat the virus. The bill will provide one-time payments of up to $1,200 to adults and $500 per child.On Monday, the IRS said that people who do not typically file tax returns would need to file a “simple” tax return to receive the payment despite text in the bill that ensures those receiving Social Security benefits would not have to file.CLICK HERE FOR FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE “Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax,” the IRS said on its website.House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., urged the Trump administration to eliminate the requirement in a Wednesday letter signed by more than three dozen Democratic senators to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul.”This filing requirement would place a significant burden on retired seniors and individuals who experience disabilities,” Neal wrote before asking the administration to ensure that payments “are automatically sent to vulnerable” populations.”Crucial filing resources, like Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly, are not available to provide assistance due to the COVID-19 crisis,” he added.More than 64 million Americans received Social Security benefits last year, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA).Some congressional Republicans also expressed disappointment with the provision.”Despite language Congress passed in #COVIDー19 relief bill to ensure Social Security beneficiaries would NOT have to file taxes to receive direct relief, IRS issued guidance saying seniors DO have to file taxes. That’s ridiculous. IRS should follow the law that Congress passed,” Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri tweeted Wednesday.Rep Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., asked the IRS to provide clarity on the issue.”I’m calling for the IRS to provide immediate clarity on the process for seniors to receive their stimulus check, following the info put out yesterday indicating some seniors would be required to first file tax returns before they can receive their COVID-19 crisis stimulus checks,” she posted.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPOn Tuesday, Neal also wrote to the Free File Alliance, a group of tax preparation companies that participate in the IRS’s Free File program. He urged them to work with the IRS to provide free assistance.”I believe that free tax preparation assistance can go a long way in easing the burden on non-filers who may need to file a return and helping our country during this pandemic,” Neal wrote.
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