Taxpayers won’t have to pay taxes they owe by the April 15th deadline, thanks to an emergency declaration from the White House.
President Trump announced the reprieve, saying the delay in payment would keep more money in Americans’ pockets at a time when they’re coping with the economic fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19). It wasn’t immediately clear whether taxpayers would still have to file their tax returns by the deadline.
The announcement came Wednesday night in an Oval Office address in which the president said he would use his emergency authority to give individuals and some businesses more time to pay the taxes they owe if they have suffered “adverse effects” from the coronavirus.
However, when he addressed a House committee earlier in the day, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the reprieve would apply to nearly everyone, except for large corporations and the “super-rich.”
Mnuchin also said the delay would keep about $200 billion in consumers’ pockets and company coffers to deal with the economic hardships the virus may cause. He told lawmakers the administration could act without having to get Congress’ approval, though there is evidence that the approval might have been granted anyway.
Democrats on board
Two Democratic senators -- Patty Murray from Washington and Bob Menendez from New Jersey -- urged the White House to take the action, saying Americans shouldn’t have to worry about filing their taxes during a health crisis.
“Given the growing nationwide concerns regarding the potential spread and the resulting economic and public health impact of such an outbreak, we urge you to act quickly and remove one source of stress that individuals face during the crisis,” the lawmakers wrote.
At the same time, taxpayers who are owed a tax refund should go ahead and file a return to get their money. Presumably, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will process returns normally.
The president is also taking emergency action to provide financial aid to people who have not been able to work because they have either become ill or are under quarantine. Trump said he would work with Congress to appropriate additional money for that use.