As Congress has enacted legislative measures to address the economic impact of COVID-19, the Internal Revenue Service has established procedures to assist taxpayers. In addition to compliance activities and examinations, the IRS encourages taxpayers to respond to any other IRS correspondence requesting additional information during this time if possible.
The following is a list summarizing some of the significant changes of which taxpayers must be aware going forward in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
*The federal government will begin distributing economic impact payments in the next three weeks automatically, thus requiring no action by most taxpayers. Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file to receive a payment. Their payments will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts. However, some people who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the economic impact payment.
*The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced that the federal individual income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers may also defer federal individual income tax and estimated tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest. The deadline for IRA contributions has been extended from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020.
It is unnecessary for taxpayers to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment extension. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file their tax returns beyond the July 15 deadline, may still request a filing extension. A tax professional may assist taxpayers during these trying times.
The IRS urges any taxpayers who are expecting a refund to file their tax returns as soon as possible. The IRS is still processing returns and issuing most tax refunds within 21 days.
IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig stated: “Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds. Although we are curtailing some operations during this period, the IRS is continuing with mission-critical operations to support the nation, and that includes accepting tax returns and sending refunds. As a federal agency vital to the overall operations of our country, we ask for your personal support, your understanding – and your patience. I’m incredibly proud of our employees as we navigate through numerous different challenges in this very rapidly changing environment.”
These announcements following President Trump’s emergency declaration pursuant to the Stafford Act, a federal law enacted in 1988 to bring an orderly and systematic means of federal natural disaster and emergency assistance for state and local governments.