Congress Changes Business Tax-Filing Due Dates

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A short-term highway-funding bill passed by the Senate on Thursday contains a number of tax-related provisions, including changing the due dates for partnership and C corporation tax returns.

The highway-funding bill is a stopgap measure that extends financing for transportation infrastructure for another three months and came just before the current funding runs out on Friday. The House passed a similar measure Wednesday, and after Senate approval it headed Thursday to President Obama’s desk for his signature. He signed the bill on Friday. The Senate also passed a long-term bill on Thursday that would provide money for the Highway Trust Fund for six years, but it remains at odds with the House on how to pay for the measure. The House left for its August recess before taking up the long-term extension bill, prompting the Senate to pass the same short-term extension that the House had approved in order to provide money for ongoing road projects.

Among the tax provisions are changing the due dates for partnership tax returns from April 15 for calendar-year partnerships to March 15 for calendar-year partnerships, and the 15th day of the third month after the end of the fiscal year for fiscal-year partnerships. The IRS will now permit an extension of up to six months for filing a partnership return.

C corporations now have until the 15th day of the fourth month after the close of their year, rather than the current due date of the 15th day of the third month following the year-end close. Corporations will have up to six months to file an extension, although calendar-year corporations will get a five-month extension until 2026, while those whose fiscal year ends June 30 will have a seven-month extension until 2026.

The American Institute of CPAs and many state CPA societies had lobbied for the changes, according to the Journal of Accountancy, in order to give tax practitioners and their business clients more time to file returns.

“Taxpayers scored a victory today when President Obama signed into law a bill that changes the due dates by which certain tax returns must be filed," said AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon in a statement Friday. "The new structure will provide more accurate information to taxpayers in a more logical flow and reduce the number of extended and amended individual and corporate tax returns that are filed each year. On behalf of the accounting profession, the AICPA extends a heartfelt 'thank you' to Kansas Representative Lynn Jenkins and Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi, who have championed due dates legislation for several years. Their leadership was key to this success.”

The new due dates take effect for tax years starting after Dec. 31, 2015. For C corporations whose fiscal years end on June 30, however, the changes won’t be applicable until tax years starting after Dec. 31, 2025.

The law will also change the maximum extension period for a number of other types of tax returns and information returns, including estates and trusts, employee benefit plans, split-interest trusts and foreign trusts. FinCEN Form 114’s due date is moving from June 30 to April 15, but there will now be a six-month extension available for the form better known as an FBAR, or foreign bank account report.

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