Mnuchin to consider providing more penalty relief for taxpayers

Mnuchin to consider providing more penalty relief for taxpayers
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Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of 'opportunity zones' | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Democrats ramp up oversight efforts over 'opportunity zone' incentive White House to add two aides to lead impeachment messaging MORE said Thursday the administration will consider providing additional penalty relief for people who didn't have enough money withheld from their paychecks last year amid pressure to provide more help for taxpayers in the first filing season under President TrumpDonald John TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem MORE's tax-cut law.

"We will review it very quickly," Mnuchin said at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing, where lawmakers from both parties pressed him on the issue.

The IRS last year issued new guidance on tax withholding from people's paychecks that reflects key parts of Trump's tax law. Lawmakers are concerned about taxpayers who unexpectedly have to pay the IRS money this year and face penalties instead of receiving a refund because of the withholding guidance.


Most people are getting a tax cut, and it's possible for taxpayers to have received a tax cut even if they have a balance due to the IRS. But people often count on their refunds for savings and to make major purchases.

The IRS in January announced that it would waive penalties for people who paid at least 85 percent of their 2018 tax liability throughout last year — which is lower than the usual threshold of 90 percent.

Rep. Kenny MarchantKenny Ewell MarchantGOP Rep. Gaetz calls for ethics investigation into Schiff Walden retirement adds to GOP election woes Overnight Energy: Automakers group sides with Trump in emissions lawsuit | Latest on California wildfires | Walden won't seek reelection | Park Service scraps plan to charge protesters for security MORE (R-Texas) asked Mnuchin if the IRS would look at lowering that threshold further, to 80 percent.

"We believe that there is some confusion, some genuine confusion out there, and I think it would be a good-faith effort on the part of us to our hard-working constituents," Marchant said.

Marchant said he's heard from residents and small businesses in his district who are facing underpayment penalties for the first time this year.

"In this year of transition, many of them — whether they got bad advice from their HR department or whether they just guessed wrong or were too optimistic — some of them did not have enough withheld," Marchant said.

Mnuchin replied that "we will consider 80 [percent]."

Rep. Judy ChuJudy May ChuDemocrats see whistleblower report as smoking gun Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator US must stay true to its values and fight the public charge rule MORE (D-Calif.), who has offered legislation to lower the threshold to 80 percent, said that Marchant's comments "shows that this is not a partisan issue.”

She asked Mnuchin what the time frame would be for considering additional penalty relief, since the tax-filing deadline is only one month away.

“I will look at it tomorrow and we will try make a decision within the next week on this,” Mnuchin replied.