Americans might have to wait longer than usual to receive their tax refunds next year.
The IRS is waiting for lawmakers to act on expired tax provisions called extenders. If Congress fails to resolve the issue by the end of November, that could delay the tax season — and therefore push back the date when refund checks start to get cut and sent out.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said the agency is currently upgrading its systems, which will help streamline the tax filing process.
"Continued uncertainty would impose even more stress not only on the IRS, but also on the entire tax community, including tax professionals, software providers, and tax volunteers, who are all critical to the successful operation of our nation’s tax system," Koskinen wrote in a letter
to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
"If Congress waits until 2015 and then enacts retroactive tax law changes affecting 2014, the operational and compliance challenges would be even more severe — likely resulting in service disruptions, millions of taxpayers needing to file amended returns, and substantially delayed refunds."
Wyden responded with a statement
posted to the committee's website, urging lawmakers to take action and not risk delays in next year's tax season.
"It has been over six months since the Finance Committee passed the EXPIRE Act with strong bipartisan support," Wyden said in the statement. "As the 2015 filing season begins to loom large, it is more urgent than ever that Congress moves in a decisive and bipartisan way to renew expired tax provisions that will give taxpayers the certainty they need to plan their finances.
"According to the IRS, the longer Congress delays action the greater risk that the tax filing season and millions of taxpayer refunds will be delayed, among other serious disruptions. As the economy begins to show signs of strength, uncertainty 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 uncertainty from taxpayers."
If Congress does not act, more than 50 tax breaks worth almost $85 billion will not be available next year.
Congress is slated to return to Washington Nov. 14, after the midterm elections.
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