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WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Senate Banking Committee members, led a bipartisan letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig urging the Trump Administration to wave late filing penalties for taxpayers whose filing delay is caused by COVID-19. 

Many taxpayers are facing economic hardships and business closures due to COVID-19. Taxpayers expect fair treatment from their government, and the current unwillingness to provide an expedited process for taxpayers and their advisors to request pandemic-specific relief places an undue burden on them. We ask that you move to address these issues immediately so the American people can receive the relief they urgently need,” the senators wrote. 

In the letter, the senators urge the Trump Administration to:

  • Create a special COVID-19 first-time abatement option for taxpayers eligible for normal first-time abatement where taxpayers can attest to filing difficulty directly caused by the pandemic;
  • Provide written guidance directing IRS customer service representatives to grant reasonable-cause and COVID-related abatement requests liberally;
  • Develop and advertise specific COVID-related examples that qualify for reasonable-cause abatement; and
  • Develop a dedicated telephone number, or dedicated prompt, for taxpayers and their advisors to call to request COVID-related penalty relief.

Kennedy and Cramer were joined on the letter by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.).

Kennedy chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which has jurisdiction over the IRS and Treasury Department.

The letter is available here.