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But to be eligible for the relief, taxpayers have to file the returns by Sept. 30. The agency says the average refund will be $750.

About 1.6 million taxpayers who missed deadlines for filing their 2019 and 2020 federal income tax returns will get automatic refunds of late-filing penalties under a new Internal Revenue Service pandemic relief program.

Taxpayers, including individuals and many businesses, will receive relief totaling $1.2 billion, the I.R.S. said, for an average of $750 per return.

But taxpayers have to file their returns for those years by Sept. 30 or they will miss out on the relief, the I.R.S. said.

The I.R.S. said the penalty waiver would help “struggling” taxpayers who were affected by Covid-19. It would also let the I.R.S. focus on processing a backlog of tax returns and letters that ballooned during the pandemic, helping the agency return to “normal operations” for next year’s filing season.

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