IRS chief warns of delays if Congress fails to act on tax extenders

By Sara Wyant

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2014 - Congressional inaction and continued uncertainty about a package of more than 50 tax extenders could complicate the 2015 tax filing season and force the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to postpone the opening on the 2015 filing season.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen shared this warning in a recent letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

 

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“It is important that Congress decide whether or not to extend these expired provisions as early as possible when Congress returns and no later than the end of November,” Koskinen wrote in an Oct. 6 letter. If the uncertainly persists into December or later, it could force the IRS to postpone the opening of the 2015 filing season and delay the processing of tax refunds for millions of Americans, he added.

Congressional leaders have warned that the earliest the package of tax extenders could be approved would be during the “lame-duck” session of Congress, after the November mid-term elections. The House has voted to extend several expired tax provisions, but the Senate has not taken action on these stand-alone provisions or a more comprehensive package that was approved by the Senate Finance Committee.

In response to the IRS letter, Chairman Wyden issued a statement urging Congress to move in a “decisive and bipartisan way” to renew expired tax provisions, similar to the EXPIRE Act, that the Finance Committee passed over six months ago.  

“As the economy begins to show signs of strength, uncertainly from the federal tax code is the last thing American businesses and families need as they look to grow and invest. Congress needs to act swiftly on these important tax provisions so it can get to work on a comprehensive overhaul of the tax code and lift the fog of uncertainly from taxpayers,” Wyden said.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman also emphasized the importance of congressional action on key tax provisions during a recent Agri-Pulse Open Mic interview.

The wish list that everyone puts together for lame duck and expectations for really great things that could happen are generally dashed by the time you get to the reality of the lame duck, but we do have some things that we wish could happen before the end of the year, including key tax provisions,” noted Stallman.

“Being sure we preserve cash accounting and particularly the section 179 bonus depreciation are extremely important as farmers figure out how to manage their capital purchases,” he explained.

The IRS letter to Chairman Wyden may be found here.

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