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Jaime Herrera Beutler Presses IRS to Process Mailed-In Tax Returns of Southwest Washington Residents
Today, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig calling for prompt action to address the backlog of mailed-in tax returns of Southwest Washington residents.
Herrera Beutler has been contacted directly by many individuals throughout Southwest Washington seeking assistance because they submitted their tax returns via mail as early as February, but have yet to receive their tax refunds. Herrera Beutler also emphasizes that given the current economic circumstances caused by COVID-19, families and individuals are relying on tax returns to pay their bills, put food on the table, and ensure their families can weather this storm.
“As you know, a significant number of Americans rely on their tax refunds as essential income – money they need to pay their bills, backfill savings and make essential purchases. Taking into account the dire economic circumstances so many people are facing during the coronavirus pandemic, if these citizens are forced to wait more than a half-year to get their money back from the IRS, they may lose their homes, be forced to forgo food or skip prescription medications,” Herrera Beutler wrote.
The full text of the letter follows, and a PDF of the letter is available here.
Dear Commissioner Rettig,
I am writing in pursuit of a resolution to a pressing issue that many Southwest Washington residents are facing due to the current delays in tax return processing times.
Many citizens have contacted me who submitted their annual tax returns via mail in February and March, but nearly five months later have yet to receive their tax refund. As you know, a significant number of Americans rely on their tax refunds as essential income – money they need to pay their bills, backfill savings and make essential purchases. Taking into account the dire economic circumstances so many people are facing during the coronavirus pandemic, if these citizens are forced to wait more than a half-year to get their money back from the IRS, they may lose their homes, be forced to forgo food or skip purchasing prescription medications.
The only guidance my office has received from the IRS is for residents to file their taxes again electronically. This is not a realistic option for many of my constituents due to the technological challenges and lack of internet access in rural communities of my district, of which there are many. Furthermore, citizens should not be forced to invest additional time and money to file online when they followed the law and filed their taxes well before the original April filing deadline.
We all understand the added challenges of keeping individuals safe in the workplace during this time, but surely the IRS can implement the same preventative measures put into place by countless other businesses, agencies, storefronts and offices to protect enough employees to remedy this serious issue. You must recognize that the timely processing of mailed-in tax refunds for citizens who need that money to pay for housing, food and medical bills is an essential service.
I request that your agency promptly provide my office with specific steps it is taking to address the backlog of mailed-in tax returns that is jeopardizing the well-being of so many Americans.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this pressing matter and look forward to your response.