June 30, 2020

Wyden, Cardin Lead Senate Finance Democrats Urging Treasury/IRS to Send Missed COVID Relief Payments to Non-filers with Dependents

Washington, DC – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) today led their Senate Finance Committee colleagues in a letter urging Trump administration officials to immediately distribute further supplemental economic impact payments to those who are in need rather than make them wait until tax time next year.

The senators wrote in their letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig that Economic Impact Payment recipients who may have eligible dependents -- including Social Security retirement, disability, and Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) recipients -- were given only 48 hours to have access to the Non-Filers Portal in order to receive the additional $500 payments for eligible dependents.

“Many of these Americans with dependents were not able to meet that deadline and have to wait until the 2020 tax filing season to receive these payments,” wrote Wyden, Ranking Member of the Finance Committee; and Cardin, a senior member of the Finance Committee. “These benefit recipients can be especially economically disadvantaged and are in need of these payments to help ease the economic burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We request that the IRS allow traditional non-filers with eligible dependents equal time and opportunity to access the Non-Filers Portal in order to claim their rightful dependent payments, in line with the supplemental payments being provided to those who made the initial short window for filing through the portal,” they added. “If the IRS does not take these steps, economically vulnerable families will face further delays in receiving much-needed payments.”

Under the CARES Act stimulus legislation passed by Congress in March, an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per dependent child went to most taxpayers with incomes below $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married taxpayers. The payment is structured as an advanceable tax credit and administered by the IRS.

In most cases, the IRS was able to use existing tax returns to determine eligibility and release payments for eligible recipients and their dependents. For others, including those who traditionally do not file taxes, the IRS created a Non-Filers Portal tool designed to assist these non-filers in filing returns in order to receive payment for themselves and their dependents.

On Monday, National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins released a report to Congress identifying challenges facing taxpayers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in this report is a recommendation that the IRS continue to allow individuals to file paper returns or use the Non-Filer tool to claim dependents and immediately issue supplemental economic impact payments instead of waiting until 2021. 

The letter led by Wyden and Cardin was signed by Finance Committee members Tom Carper (D-Del.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.).

The full text of the letter is here.