Mnuchin: Administration looking at providing tax extensions over coronavirus

Mnuchin: Administration looking at providing tax extensions over coronavirus
© Greg Nash

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHow lawmaker ties helped shape Fed chairman's COVID-19 response Business groups throw support behind House Democrat's bill to provide pandemic risk insurance The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former NIC Director Greg Treverton rips US response; WHO warns of 'immediate second peak' if countries reopen too quickly MORE on Wednesday said that the Trump administration is considering allowing certain individuals and small businesses to get extensions on their taxes in light of the coronavirus, saying that such a move could boost liquidity.

During a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Mnuchin said that this type of tax relief could be done on an administrative basis, without congressional action.

"We are looking at providing substantial relief to certain taxpayers and small businesses who will be able to get extensions on their taxes," Mnuchin said. "We think we can provide over $200 billion of liquidity into the economy by delaying certain tax payments."

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Mnuchin's comments come after The Wall Street Journal reported late Tuesday that the administration is considering pushing back the April 15 tax filing due date, and after a group of Democrats asked the IRS on Tuesday for an update about the outbreak's impact on the filing season.

Mnuchin's comments also come as the White House and Congress are working to enact additional legislation to help stakeholders impacted by the coronavirus. Mnuchin met with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMcCarthy urges Democrats to pull surveillance bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Major space launch today; Trump feuds with Twitter How lawmaker ties helped shape Fed chairman's COVID-19 response MORE (D-Calif.) Tuesday afternoon, and the two briefly spoke on the phone Wednesday morning.

Mnuchin said that a top priority for the administration is to provide funding for small- and medium-sized businesses directly affected by the outbreak.

"There are a large number of workers that are going to be required to self-quarantine, or be at home to take care of family members who are self-quarantined," he said. "For small- and medium-sized business, we think it's appropriate for the government to pick up those costs."

Additionally, Mnuchin said that the administration is looking to "dramatically" increase lending from the Small Business Administration and needs additional congressional authorization in this area.

Mnuchin noted that President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice says it will recommend Trump veto FISA bill Fauci: Nominating conventions may be able to go on as planned Poll: Biden leads Trump by 11 points nationally MORE "very much wants to consider a stimulus bill, whether it's through a payroll tax [cut] or otherwise." He said Congress may not be able to pass a stimulus package this week, before it leaves town for a recess, but he encouraged Congress to do what it can now and then work on additional legislation at a later point.

The Treasury secretary also said that certain industries are particularly impacted by the coronavirus, and that the administration may consider offering loan guarantees to businesses in those fields. He said that such a move would not be a "bailout," and that loan guarantees "are a very effective way of making sure the government is paid back without putting the government at risk."