Bowing to pressure from various sources—from both within and outside the government—the IRS is extending the usual April 15 tax filing deadline to July 15. The announcement was “tweeted” by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on March 20.
“All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties,” wrote Mnuchin. He said that he was following President Trump’s direction on this matter.
The latest move by the IRS is part of the expanding efforts by the government to stem the financial fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic. It gives taxpayers another 90 days to file their federal income tax returns for the 2019 tax year without incurring any interest or penalties.
Previously, on March 17, Steven Mnuchin said that individual taxpayers would be able to defer up to $1 million in tax payments to the IRS until July 15 because of the COVID-19 outbreak. He noted that this threshold was intended to accommodate pass-through entities, like S corporations and partnerships, where taxes are reported on individual returns. A comparable delay of up to $10 million is available to corporations.
The extension to pay taxes also applies to federal estimated tax payments for the first quarter of 2020 that would normally be due on April 15.
Some lawmakers and several members of the tax community, including the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) have been vocal about the need for the IRS to push back the April 15 filing deadline in this current environment. Now the agency has acquiesced.
In regards to the tax filing extension, President Trump later added that he is hopeful by the time the new deadline arrives “people will be getting back to their lives.”
It was noted that a statement by Mnuchin about a tax payment extension at a news conference does not technically count as Official Guidance. The Guidance on extending payments eventually came, however as of time of this writing the IRS website still had the filing deadline at April 15, with no Official Guidance on the change.
In addition, the IRS website noted that "in response to the national emergency and to protect our employees, America’s taxpayers, communities and our partners, the IRS has temporarily closed all Taxpayer Assistance Centers and discontinued face-to-face service throughout the country until further notice."
On 3/18, AICPA President Barry Melancon issued this letter, stating the Institute's, and profession's concern that the Treasury did not go far enough in simply extending payments.
Ken Berry, Esq., is a nationally known writer and editor specializing in tax, financial, and legal matters. During his long career, he has served as managing editor of a publisher of content-based marketing tools and vice president of an online continuing education company. As a freelance writer, Ken has authored thousands of articles for a...