Trump moves tax day to July 15 because of coronavirus

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted Friday that President Trump has directed him to move Tax Day to July 15, giving taxpayers more time to file their taxes in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“At @realDonaldTrump’s direction, we are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15,” said Mnuchin (pictured). “All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.”

Later on Friday, the IRS issued Notice 2020-18, spelling out the formal guidance on the Tax Day delay. The notice provides federal income tax filing and payment relief on account of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency. In the notice, the Treasury Department and IRS offer relief to all taxpayers who have federal income tax returns and federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020. The April 15, 2020 deadline is postponed to July 15, 2020. Associated interest, additions to tax, and penalties for late filing or late payment will be suspended until July 15, 2020.

The Treasury said Saturday that taxpayers aren't required to file any documentation to take advantage of the delay. The relief announced Friday by the Treasury only applies to federal income tax (including tax on self-employment income) payments otherwise due April 15, 2020, but not to state tax payments or deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax. However, many states are expected to follow up with similar relief. The Treasury and the IRS plan to issue more guidance as needed and continue working with Congress.

Earlier this week, the administration moved the payment deadline to July 15, but groups like the American Institute of CPAs, the National Society of Accountants and the National Conference of CPA Practitioners pointed out that wasn’t going far enough. Many taxpayers and their accountants are dealing with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and don’t have access to all their tax records or offices. A group of senators introduced bipartisan legislation Thursday to push back the tax filing deadline.

The AICPA thanked the Treasury and the IRS for postponing the filing date. “The coronavirus pandemic has made it increasingly difficult for taxpayers and tax advisers to file on time and in a safe manner and this relief is helpful,” said AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon, in a statement Friday. “My message to CPA firms and other preparers today is: our work is not over. There is a great need to support the U.S. economy and it is urgently critical that refund returns are filed as soon as possible, without unnecessary delay and when able and safe to do. Our profession has a tremendous opportunity to create economic stimulus when we help taxpayers submit a refund return.”

Like the AICPA, the Massachusetts Society of CPAs had also criticized the Treasury earlier this week for not extending the tax-filing deadline until July 15 in tandem with the payment deadline. On Friday, after Mnuchin announced the extension, the MSCPA also praised the move and urged the state of Massachusetts to do the same.

“On behalf of our 11,000 members, the MSCPA is grateful the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made the right decision to extend the tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020,” said Amy Pitter, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Society of CPAs, in a statement Friday. “This provides much needed relief to both taxpayers and practitioners across the country who are facing an unprecedented set of challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. We firmly believe that Massachusetts should follow suit and offer similar guidance that extends the deadline. Having clear, consistent and equivalent language from state and federal governments will limit confusion and ease the stress of taxpayers and practitioners alike.”

Later on Friday, New York State announced it was moving its tax-filing deadline to July 15.

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