The Internal Revenue Service has raised interest rates for the calendar quarter beginning April 1, 2016, the first change to the interest rates since the fourth calendar quarter of 2010 when the federal short-term rate decreased from 1 percent to 0 percent.
Revenue Ruling 2016-06 spells out the new rates of interest. The rates will be:
• 4 percent for overpayments (3 percent in the case of a corporation);
• 1.5 percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000;
• 4 percent for underpayments; and
• 6 percent for large corporate underpayments.
Under the Tax Code, the rate of interest is determined on a quarterly basis. For taxpayers other than corporations, the overpayment and underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points. In recent years, the rates have remained mostly unchanged as the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates low and only last December voted to raise them (see Rates Hold for Q1 of 2016 and Fed Ends Zero-Rate Era; Signals 4 Quarter-Point 2016 Hikes).
Generally, in the case of a corporation, the underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points and the overpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 2 percentage points. The rate for large corporate underpayments is the federal short-term rate plus 5 percentage points. The rate on the portion of a corporate overpayment of tax exceeding $10,000 for a taxable period is the federal short-term rate plus one-half (0.5) of a percentage point.
The interest rates, which were announced last week, are computed from the federal short-term rate determined during January 2016 to take effect Feb. 1, 2016, based on daily compounding. The federal short-term rate has increased from 0 percent to 1 percent.