U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight, and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, today introduced the Remote and Mobile Worker Relief Act (S. 3995), bipartisan legislation that would ensure that medical professionals from around the country who supported areas hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic do not face unexpected or increased state income tax bills. The bill would also address potential problems remote workers are facing during the pandemic, including the possibility of having their state income taxes become out of balance because they worked from home in a different state than their ordinary place of employment during the pandemic.
“Doctors and nurses who voluntarily crossed state lines to help during the pandemic – in some cases sacrificing vacation time to do so – should not be at risk of facing a much higher or unexpected tax bill as a reward for their service and sacrifice,” said Thune. “This situation is even worse for residents of states like my home state of South Dakota that don’t have a state income tax against which a credit can be claimed. This bill ensures these mobile workers are not unfairly taxed, while also providing certainty for those who are working remotely.”
“Healthcare workers have been on the frontlines of this pandemic for months now,” said Brown. “Not only are they combatting this virus in their own communities, but many of them have travelled across state lines to help in areas that have been hit hardest. A surprise tax bill is the last thing they need. We should make it easier for these mobile workers to support themselves and their families.”
S. 3995 builds off of Thune and Brown’s Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act, which they introduced early last year, by establishing a special 90-day standard for health care workers who traveled to another state to help during the pandemic. The change would help ensure that no health care worker faces an unexpected tax bill for the contributions he or she made to fighting the coronavirus. The bill would also provide relief to remote workers by maintaining the tax “status quo.” This would protect employees who have been displaced by the virus and are working remotely and make sure they continue to have their income taxed as if they were still going to their physical office every day.
Thune recently wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal highlighting the urgent need for this legislation.