IRS releases guidance on tax deadline postponement

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The Internal Revenue Service posted a frequently asked questions page about the recently announced delay in tax filing and payments until July 15 because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Treasury Department announced the postponement of the tax deadline last Friday in response to growing calls to delay the April 15 date. Earlier in the month, the Treasury had only postponed the tax payment date until July 15, but under pressure from lawmakers and groups of accountants and tax professionals, the Trump administration announced that tax filing would also be delayed until July 15 (see our story). Later that day, the Treasury Department and the IRS also issued a notice providing guidance about the delay.

However, there were still many questions left unanswered, and the IRS posted the FAQ page on Tuesday. It deals with questions such as eligibility and whether taxpayers need to be actually sick or quarantined due to the COVI-19 outbreak. The relief applies broadly to taxpayers in general. The FAQ page also answers about 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.

The page also provides information about relief for businesses with quarterly filing deadlines and estimated tax payments for individuals, as well as information about relief on payroll and excise taxes, along with applicability toward estate and gift taxes. In addition, it contains information about providing another 90 days for contributions to individual retirement accounts, health savings accounts, Archer medical savings accounts, as well as other issues related to the postponement. The IRS is expected to add more items to the FAQ page as various issues bubble to the surface.

The American Institute of CPAs asked Wednesday for further relief and guidance from the Treasury and the IRS about some issues not already addressed on the FAQ page. The AICPA recommended that relief should extend to all deadlines for filings, tax payments, estimated taxes and gathering of pertinent information to include in those filings or payment calculations. It also wants the relief to apply to all filers and types of taxes, including payroll, excise tax, estate, gift and generations-skipping transfer tax, etc. The AICPA also said the relief should apply to tax-exempt organizations and fiscal year corporations for tax returns, information returns, elections, claims for refund and other correspondence.

“We greatly appreciate the deferral for income tax payments and the filing relief provided for in the Notice,” said AICPA vice president of taxation Edward Karl in a statement Wednesday. “However, the economic impact of COVID-19 is wide-ranging, and additional relief and answers are needed. With shelter-in-place orders issued throughout the country and a spreading pandemic, there is a significant list of filing and payment challenges left unresolved. We urge the Treasury Department and IRS to grant additional relief in these uncertain times and offer our assistance in identifying specific areas in need of FAQs or formal authoritative guidance.”

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IRS Tax regulations Coronavirus Tax relief Tax season AICPA Treasury Department
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