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Guest column: Due to pandemic, income tax filing deadline extended to July 15

By Staff | Apr 23, 2020

April 15 has come and gone without the usual fanfare. Due to Florida’s safer-at-home order, it can be easy to lose track of what day it is. If the calendar got away from you and you did not file your income tax return or extension this year, you are in luck. Due to the upheaval caused by COVID-19, the U.S. Treasury Department has extended the filing and payment due dates for 2019 personal income tax returns to July 15, 2020. This change means that all tax returns originally due on April 15 are automatically extended to July 15 this year.

Initially, payments were still due on April 15, but Certified Public Accountant societies around the country successfully lobbied the Treasury Department to also extend payment due dates to July 15. This payment extension means that individuals who pay their 2019 income tax by July 15 will not be assessed any penalties or interest. No forms need to be filed in order to receive the extension of time to file and pay.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin originally announced the extended filing date on March 18 in response to concerns that people were unable or unwilling to visit their CPAs during quarantines and safer-at-home orders. As tax day approached, the U.S. Treasury Department sought to alleviate these concerns by providing an automatic extension of time to file 2019 income taxes. The extension of time to pay has since been expanded to also include 2020 first and second quarter individual and corporate estimated income tax payments.

The 2019 calendar year partnership, C Corporation, S Corporation and Estate tax returns have also been granted relief until July 15. The entire list of tax returns and payments which have been granted an automatic extension can be found in IRS Notice 2020-23. Florida does not have a state individual income tax. However, individuals who file income tax returns in other states should check those states’ websites to see if they have provided tax filing or payment relief.

Obtaining phone or written help from the IRS has become extremely difficult this year. The IRS has discontinued all phone service including its tax practitioner hotline, so IRS information can only be obtained through IRS.gov at this time. In addition, the IRS has suspended the processing of paper-filed tax returns. As a result, amended tax returns, which must be filed on paper, are not being processed. Taxpayers are urged to e-file their 2019 income tax returns because paper-filed refund requests are not being reviewed. As the IRS and Congress continue to navigate these unchartered waters, it is likely that there will be even more changes to the tax laws that impact you and your family.

– Mary Feichthaler is a licensed CPA and has 24 years of experience assisting individual, corporate and nonprofit clients in all areas of taxation including income tax compliance and audits, sales tax, FIRPTA and offers in compromise. She has lived in Cape Coral since 2002. She graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University with a degree in accounting and graduated magna cum laude from Pace University with a Masters in Taxation. She can be reached at mary@feichthalertax.com or at 239-898-8522.

The information in this article is general in nature and not intended as tax advice to anyone. Individuals should consult with a licensed CPA before making any tax or investment decisions.