It’s been said that not much in this world is certain, except taxes. So for months now, taxpayers around the country have been working their way toward the annual April 15 tax deadline.
But this year, in response to COVID-19, the US Government has instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to provide tax relief to Americans who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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UPDATED: Using its authority under the recent national emergency declaration, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is automatically postponing the April 15 federal income tax return and payment deadline (including payments of tax on self-employment income) for 90 days—without any interest, penalties, or additions to tax for failure-to-file.
This means you’ll have until July 15 to submit both your tax return AND tax payment, no matter how much you owe the IRS. And you don’t need to fill out a form to qualify for the extension.
As a tax preparer, I used to advise my clients that the IRS normally doesn’t provide tax filing or payment relief under any circumstance. But these are extraordinary times, and pushing back the annual tax deadline of April 15 by 90 days regardless of what you owe Uncle Sam is exactly what the IRS provided.
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So who qualifies for this tax filing and payment relief? This includes:
- “All taxpayers who file and pay their federal income taxes on April 15”
- “All individual returns, trusts, and corporations”
This means every individual and business in America.
The IRS will continue to process tax refunds on submitted tax returns for all Americans as normal.
This deadline extension is “automatic,” which means there’s no need for you or your tax pro to apply for an extension using Form 4868 or Form 7004 by April 15 for the extra 90-day relief. You will, however, need to fill out these forms if you want to file after July 15.
My recommendation is that you file your federal tax return with federal income tax payment (including payments of tax on self-employment income) by July 15 at the latest. That way you avoid the “interest and penalties,” which start to accrue on July 16, 2020.
Here’s a quick table that shows you the difference between the old and new deadlines:
|Old Requirement||New Requirement|
|Tax Return Deadline||April 15, 2020||July 15, 2020 (new)|
|Tax Payment Deadline||April 15, 2020||July 15, 2020 (new)|
|Tax Return Extension Request Deadline||April 15, 2020||July 15, 2020 (new)|
|Tax Return Extension Expiration||October 15, 2020||October 15, 2020 (same)|
According to IRS Notice 2020-18, if you need further information, you may call 1 (202) 317-5436 (not a toll-free number).
If you aren’t able to work with a tax professional at this moment in order to file your taxes, the IRS offers a “Free File” online option based on your income, and TurboTax also provides a “Free Federal Tax Extension” service.
Alternatively, you can find an accountant through Gusto’s Partner Directory, which lists qualified accountants across the country.