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IRS provides update on all changes to tax returns due to the COVID-19 pandemic

There are lots of FAQs to peruse, but every taxpayer should take five minutes to catch up on what they need to do

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Keeping up with what’s changing on Capitol Hill during the coronavirus pandemic has become our charge at ConsumerAffairs, particularly when it’s something that impacts the consumer.

One thing that is in constant motion as a result of the outbreak is what’s happening at the IRS in the way of tax returns -- filing deadlines, refunds, forms… well, darn near everything.

On Wednesday, the IRS clued ConsumerAffairs into a new set of questions and answers related to income tax return filing and payment relief that every taxpayer should take five minutes to absorb. 

Note that for any form listed, the IRS provides a compilation of those forms along with instructions available here.

Payment Relief

Who qualifies for payment relief?

“Any person with a Federal income tax return or payment due on April 15, 2020, is eligible for relief under the Notice. ‘Person’ includes any type of taxpayer, such as an individual, a trust, an estate, a corporation, or any type of unincorporated business entity.” 

“The payment due refers to both 2019 Federal income tax payments (including payments of tax on self-employment income) and 2020 estimated Federal income tax payments (including payments of tax on self-employment income), regardless of the amount owed.” 

“The return or payment must be due on April 15, 2020 – this relief does not apply to Federal income tax returns and payments due on any other date.”

Do I have to actually be sick, or quarantined, or have any other impact from COVID-19 to qualify for payment relief?

“No, you do not have to be sick, or quarantined, or have any other impact from COVID-19 to qualify for relief. You only need to have a Federal income tax return or payment due on April 15, 2020, as described above.”

What are the form numbers of the specific Federal income tax returns whose filing deadlines have been postponed, from April 15 to July 15, under the Notice?

According to the IRS’ update, the Notice postpones the filing and payment of Federal income taxes reported on the following forms:  

  • Form 1040, 1040-SR, 1040-NR, 1040-NR-EZ, 1040-PR, 1040-SS

  • Form 1041, 1041-N, 1041-QFT

  • Form 1120, 1120-C, 1120-F, 1120-FSC, 1120-H, 1120-L, 1120-ND, 1120-PC, 1120-POL, 1120-REIT, 1120-RIC, 1120-SF

  • Form 8960

  • Form 8991

“With respect to Form 990-T, if that Form is due to be filed on April 15, then it has been postponed to July 15 under the Notice. For taxpayers whose Form 990-T is due on May 15, that due date has not been postponed under the Notice.”

“With respect to returns due on March 16, 2020, which include Form 1065, Form 1065-B, Form 1066, and Form 1120-S for calendar year taxpayers, the filing of those returns has not been postponed.”

I am a fiscal year filer. My Federal income tax return for fiscal year 2019 is due on April 15, 2020. Am I an “Affected Taxpayer” eligible for relief under the Notice? 

“Yes, the relief provided in the Notice applies to Federal income tax returns and payments in respect of an Affected Taxpayer’s 2019 taxable year, and postpones those 2019 return filings and payments due on April 15, 2020 until July 15, 2020.”  

“If your Federal income tax return for your fiscal year ending during 2019 is due on April 15, 2020, whether that is the original due date or the due date on extension, your due date is postponed to July 15, 2020.”

What about businesses or other entities that have filing due dates on May 15, June 15, or some other date besides April 15. Have their filing and payment deadlines been postponed?

“No, any taxpayers who have filing or payment due dates other than April 15 have not been granted relief at this time.”

Does the relief provided in the Notice apply to payroll or excise taxes?

“No, under the Notice, normal filing, payment, and deposit due dates continue to apply to both payroll and excise taxes.”

Does the relief provided in the Notice apply to estate and gift taxes?

“No, normal filing and payment due dates continue to apply to estate and gift taxes.”

Does the relief provided in the Notice apply to section 965(h) installment payments due on April 15, 2020?

The IRS says the answer to this question is a definite “yes.” 

“The relief applies to section 965 installment payments due on April 15, 2020. Although the section 965(h) installment payment is generally made in respect of a taxpayer’s 2017 or 2018 tax year, under section 965(h)(2), the due date of the installment payment associated with a 2019 tax return is the due date of the taxpayer’s 2019 Federal income tax return.”

“For any taxpayer whose Federal income tax return filing due date has been postponed from April 15 to July 15, 2020, the due date of that taxpayer’s section 965 installment payment has also been postponed to July 15, 2020.”

Does the relief provided in the Notice apply to estimated payments for a corporation required to make payments under section 59A (Basis Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax, or BEAT)? 

“Yes, for any taxpayer whose Federal income tax return filing deadline has been postponed from April 15 to July 15, 2020, the due date for Form 8991 and the BEAT payment has been postponed to July 15, 2020.”

Does the relief provided in the Notice apply to the filing of information returns?

“No, the relief only applies to the filing of Federal income tax returns due on April 15, 2020.”

Does this relief apply to state tax liabilities?

“No, this relief applies only to Federal income tax payments. State filing and payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the Federal filing and payment deadline. We urge you to check with your state tax agencies for those details.”

More information is available at https://www.taxadmin.org/state-tax-agencies.

Filing and paying your 2019 Federal income taxes and your first quarter 2020 Federal estimated income taxes

I haven’t filed my 2019 income tax return that would have been due on April 15 yet, but I expect to file it by July 15. What do I need to do?

“Nothing, except file and pay any tax due with your return by July 15. You don’t need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic Federal tax filing and payment relief. If you expect a refund, you are encouraged to file your return as soon as you can so that you can receive your refund.”

“Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds. If you need more time beyond July 15 to file your return, request an automatic extension of time to file as described next.”

What if I am unable to file my 2019 income tax return that would have been due on April 15 by July 15, 2020?

“If you are an individual, you can request an automatic extension to file your Federal income tax return if you can’t file by the July 15 deadline. The easiest and fastest way to request a filing extension is to electronically file Form 4868 through your tax professional, tax software, or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses, including trusts, must file Form 7004.” 

“You must request the automatic extension by July 15, 2020. If you properly estimate your 2019 tax liability using the information available to you and file an extension form by July 15, 2020, your tax return will be due on October 15, 2020. To avoid interest and penalties when filing your tax return after July 15, 2020, pay the tax you estimate as due with your extension request.”

I already filed my 2019 income tax return that would have been due on April 15 and I owe taxes, but I haven’t paid yet. What do I need to do to avoid interest and penalties?

“To avoid interest and penalties, pay your taxes in full by July 15, 2020. If you filed Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR, the tax payment amount can be found on line 23. If you filed Form 1040-NR, the tax payment amount can be found on line 75. For a corporation filing a Form 1120, the tax payment amount can be found on line 35.”

The IRS adds that Interest and penalties will begin to be charged after July 15 for any amount remaining unpaid by that date.

I already filed my 2019 income tax return that would have been due on April 15 and scheduled a payment of taxes for April 15, 2020. Will this payment be automatically rescheduled to July 15, 2020?

“No,” the IRS says. “the payment will not be automatically rescheduled to July 15. If you do nothing, the payment will be made on the date you chose. Here is information on how to cancel and reschedule your payment:

  • If you scheduled a payment through IRS Direct Pay, you can use your confirmation number from the payment to access the Look Up a Payment feature. You can modify or cancel a scheduled payment until two business days before the payment date. The email notification you received when you scheduled the payment will contain the confirmation number.

  • If you scheduled a payment through Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), click on Payments from the EFTPS home page, login, then click Cancel a Tax Payment from the left menu and follow the instructions. You must do so at least two business days before the scheduled payment date.

  • If you scheduled a payment as part of filing your tax return (authorizing an electronic funds withdrawal), you may revoke (cancel) your payment by contacting the U.S. Treasury Financial Agent at 888-353-4537. You must call to make a payment cancellation request no later than 11:59 p.m. ET two business days prior to the scheduled payment date.

  • If you scheduled a payment by credit card or debit card, contact the card processor to cancel the card payment.”

The Notice postpones the deadline for first quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments due on April 15, 2020. What about second quarter estimated tax payments due on June 15? Have they been postponed as well?

“No, second quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments are still due on June 15, 2020. First quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments are postponed from April 15 to July 15, 2020.”

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and workplace-based retirement plans

Does this relief provide me more time to contribute money to my IRA for 2019?

“Yes. Contributions can be made to your IRA, for a particular year, at any time during the year or by the due date for filing your return for that year. Because the due date for filing Federal income tax returns has been postponed to July 15, the deadline for making contributions to your IRA for 2019 is also extended to July 15, 2020.”

For more details on IRA contributions, see Publication 590-A, Contributions to Individual “Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).”

If I owe the 10 percent additional tax on amounts includible in gross income from a distribution that I took from my IRA or workplace-based retirement plan in 2019, is the due date for paying that additional tax also extended to July 15, 2020 on account of this relief?

If you're hoping for a yes on this, you’ve got it. And the reason? 

“Because the 10 percent additional tax is calculated, reported, and paid at the same time as the income tax owed on the amounts includible in gross income on the distribution, the reporting and payment of the 10 percent additional tax also has been extended to July 15, 2020 as a result of this relief.” 

I made excess elective deferrals to my workplace-based retirement plan in 2019.  Do I have to take those excess deferrals (and income) out of the retirement plan no later than April 15, 2020, in order to exclude the distributions from income?

“Yes, because that date is not also extended as a result of this relief.”

For employers with a federal income tax return due date of April 15, 2020, is the end of the grace period under section 404(a)(6) to make contributions to their qualified retirement plans on account of 2019 also July 15, 2020 as a result of this relief?

Another emphatic yes. Why? “Because these employers are Affected Taxpayers under Notice 2020-18 for whom the due date for filing Federal income tax returns and making Federal income tax payments that would be due April 15, 2020, is now July 15, 2020, the end of the grace period for these employers is also July 15, 2020 under this relief,” the IRS says in its new update. 

“So, for example, if an employer is a corporation with an April 15, 2020 due date for filing the Form 1120, then the grace period under section 404(a)(6) for the employer to make contributions to its workplace-based retirement plan that are treated as made on account of 2019 ends on July 15, 2020.”

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Archer Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) 

Does this relief provide me more time to contribute money to my HSA or Archer MSA for 2019?

“Yes. Contributions may be made to your HSA or Archer MSA, for a particular year, at any time during the year or by the due date for filing your return for that year. Because the due date for filing Federal income tax returns is now July 15, 2020, under this relief, you may make contributions to your HSA or Archer MSA for 2019 at any time up to July 15, 2020.”  

“For more details on HSA or Archer MSA contributions, see Publication 969, Health Savings Accounts and other Tax-Favored Health Plans.”

Refunds for older claims

I want to file a claim for a refund for 2016, which must be filed by April 15, 2020 to be timely. Does this relief give me more time to claim my 2016 refund?

“No, the relief provided for filing Federal income tax returns applies only to Federal income tax returns for the 2019 taxable year. The Notice does not extend relief to any filings or payments for the taxable year 2016.”

Overpayment of estimated tax

Does this relief postpone the time for filing Form 4466, Corporation Application for Quick Refund of Overpayment of Estimated Tax?

“No, the time for filing Form 4466 is not postponed. However, you may request your refund by filing your income tax return.”

Failure to make required estimated taxes for 2019

I failed to make the required installments of estimated tax in the required amounts during 2019 for my 2019 taxable year. Does this relief apply to an estimated tax penalty for 2019?

“No, the relief does not change the estimated tax requirements or estimated tax penalty for 2019. Relief from the penalty may be available under the normal rules. See Form 2210 (for individuals) or Form 2220 (for corporations) and the instructions for either form for details.”

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