- The $2.2 trillion coronavirus-related stimulus legislation passed by Congress in March, which set aside billions of dollars for direct cash payments to most Americans, is one example of the unprecedented moment the US finds itself in right now.
- Here’s another: The tax deadline for 2020, which had already been pushed from April 15 to July 15, might get delayed for a second time.
- There are reports the White House is considering whether to push the deadline again, to the fall or even later.
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I have probably written some variation of this phrase more times than I can count over the last month or so, but here is yet another indicator of the completely unprecedented moment the US now finds itself in thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
Already, you’ll recall, the Trump administration decided to push back the normal April 15 tax deadline to the summer this year — a no-brainer if you ask me, considering we’re perilously close to Great Depression-level territory thanks to the wave of job losses and business closures in recent weeks. On Friday, the Labor Dept. reported that employers shed more than 20 million workers last month, pushing the jobless rate in the country to 14.7%. In light of all this economic devastation, the original idea was that taxpayers would have until July 15 to file their 2019 taxes — and that they wouldn’t have to pay a late-filing or late-payment penalty, either. The tax deadline was also part of a raft of emergency moves that included sending out direct cash payments to most Americans.
Now, the Trump administration is reportedly weighing a second delay of the tax deadline, considering whether to push it to September 15 or even as far out as December 15.
That’s according to NBC News, which reports no decision has been made yet but comes as the Trump administration is desperately searching for the right formula that will help revive the more or less comatose US economy.
One byproduct of a move like the second tax delay, though, is that it could force taxpayers into the difficult position of facing a much-larger-than-normal tax bill in the future. “I worry that if we push back too much, we’re going to end up sticking people with balloon payments,” Marc Goldwein, senior vice president and senior policy director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told CNBC. “In general, they should think about a new tax schedule rather than pushing out the deadline. If you keep pushing out, it’s too many tax payments.”
In other words, pushing the normal April 15 deadline all the way out to the fall, and possibly even as late as December, would leave taxpayers owing for anything they didn’t pay in 2019, plus quarterly taxes for 2020, all at once. And then, don’t forget, the April 15, 2021 deadline would be right around the corner after that.