Dear Commissioner Rettig:
We appreciate your work to quickly get a second round of Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) out to the American people. However, we write to express concern about the IRS's decision to require people who have not received their EIP to wait until they file their 2020 taxes. Several of our constituents have reached out to raise these concerns as well. This decision by the IRS adds bureaucratic hurdles that make access to these payments difficult and leaves people with no option to access financial relief to address immediate financial obligations. Our constituents are entitled to receive these direct payments immediately. Instead, they have been asked to delay receiving these payments by at least several weeks until they receive proper tax documents, file their taxes, and receive payment. In addition, the IRS is advising Americans to file their taxes electronically to receive their EIP. Meanwhile, many Americans do not have the resources to file their taxes if being asked to do so electronically. At a time when millions of Americans are financially vulnerable and need immediate help due to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it is vital that the IRS does everything in its power to get these payments out to the people who need them most without delay.
On December 21, 2020, Congress passed the latest COVID-19 relief package, which included $600 direct payments to nearly all Americans. These direct payments have garnered bipartisan support because they are one of the quickest ways to get financial relief directly into the pockets of the American people. Unfortunately, the IRS's decision to direct people who have not received their EIPs to wait to file their 2020 taxes would delay getting these checks out to people as soon as possible. Further, the IRS is still processing 2019 tax returns, and we are concerned that this backlog could further delay taxpayers from receiving their second EIP if they wait to receive their direct payment through their 2020 tax return.
Given the financial urgency that millions of Americans are currently facing during a global health pandemic, we urge the IRS provide Americans options to submit the direct payment information directly to the IRS, whether by submitting their bank information through a secure portal, or by submitting their mailing address so that they may receive a check in the mail. Additionally, we respectfully request that the IRS report recommendations to Congress to improve the accessibility of EIPs for future rounds of these direct payments no later than Friday, January 29, 2021.
People need financial relief now, and we must act swiftly to get these checks into the hands of people who need them most.