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Washington–Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senators Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), John Kennedy (R-La.) and a group of bipartisan senators to send a 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,” the senators wrote. “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.”

In the letter, the senators urged the Trump administration to: 

  • Create a special COVID-19 First Time Abatement option for taxpayers eligible for normal First Time Abatement where one 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
  • Create a dedicated telephone number, or dedicated prompt, for taxpayers and their advisors to call to request COVID-related penalty relief.

In addition to Feinstein, Cramer and Kennedy, the letter was also signed by Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Boozman (R-Ariz.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.).

The letter is available here.