More Clarifications and Extensions Coming From the IRS

After much debate and discussion, more clarifications and extentions are coming from the Internal Revenue Service in the wake of COVID-19.

Apr 13th 2020
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The IRS is setting the record straight. In addition to previously announced filing extensions, it is also extending the second quarter due date for estimated tax—normally, June 15—to July 15, as well as providing more flexibility for other taxpayers (IR-2020-66, 4/9/20).

On March 21, the IRS officially announced that it was extending the deadline for filing 2019 tax returns and paying any required tax from April 15 to July 15, along with the due date for the first quarterly installment of estimated tax for 2020. But it didn’t say anything about the second quarter, until now.

Here's more specifics on what is happening:

Details: The new IRS announcement expands the filing relief to additional returns, tax payments and other actions. These extensions generally now apply to all taxpayers that have a filing or payment deadline falling between April 1, 2020 and July 15, 2020. As a result, individuals, trusts, estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers all have extra time to meet their obligations.

In effect, any U.S. taxpayer—including those who live and work abroad—can now wait until July 15 to file a 2019 federal income tax return and pay any tax that is due. The new Notice clarifies the rules as follows:

Additional filing extensions: Individuals who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request an extension to October 15, 2020 by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on www.irs.gov. Businesses that need additional time must file Form 7004.

Note: An extension to file is not an extension to pay tax that is due. Taxpayers requesting additional time to file should estimate their tax liability and pay any tax owed by the July 15, 2020 deadline to avoid additional interest and penalties.

Estimated tax payments: Any individual or corporation that has a quarterly estimated tax payment due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020 can wait until July 15 to make that payment, without incurring a penalty.

2016 unclaimed refunds: For 2016 tax returns, the normal April 15 deadline to claim a refund has also been extended to July 15, 2020. The tax law provides a three-year window of opportunity to claim refunds. 

If a taxpayer doesn’t file a return within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. The tax law requires taxpayers to properly address, mail and ensure the tax return is postmarked by the July 15, 2020 due date.

IRS.gov assistance 24/7: Finally, the IRS states that its live telephone assistance is currently unavailable due to COVID-19. Normal operations will resume when possible. But some tax help is available 24 hours a day on the IRS website.

The site offers a variety of online tools to help taxpayers answer common tax questions. For example, taxpayers can search the Interactive Tax AssistantTax TopicsFrequently Asked Questions, and Tax Trails to get answers to common questions. Those who have already filed can check their refund status by visiting www.irs.gov/refunds.

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