The Internal Revenue Service will waive $1.2 billion in fees levied against American taxpayers who were late in filing their returns during the coronavirus pandemic, the agency said Wednesday.
The IRS estimates that some 1.6 million filers of 2019 and 2020 returns will be issued refunds or credits by the end of September for most of the fees that they incurred.
Taxpayers must file any late returns by Sept. 30 of this year in order to qualify for forgiven late fees, the agency said.
“Throughout the pandemic, the IRS has worked hard to support the nation and provide relief to people in many different ways,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The penalty relief issued today is yet another way the agency is supporting people during this unprecedented time.”
Rettig added: “This penalty relief will be automatic for people or businesses who qualify; there’s no need to call.”
Filing income tax returns late can result in penalties upwards of 25% of the unpaid amount.
The IRS extended the filing deadlines in 2020 and 2021 in order to allow citizens more time to gather the necessary paperwork and submit it to the agency.
Taxpayers have long been frustrated by notoriously poor customer service from the IRS, which is saddled with a backlog of returns.
But Republicans are opposed to the extra funding due to fears that it will result in heavy-handed auditing of small business and middle-class taxpayers.