How The Coronavirus May Affect The Tax Filing Deadline

filing taxes

*Notice: Since this article was written many changes have been made. The most important change is that the Federal Tax Filing Deadline has been moved to July 15th.

There is simply no avoiding the fact that we are in the midst of a major life disruption.

For Americans this is coming right at the height of tax season, which usually accounts for quite a bit of stress and widespread fear. However, this year, taxes are far less frightening.

Global Pandemic

Just yesterday the World Health Organizations (WHO) officially declared the Coronavirus a pandemic. Last night, the President announced that “he would allow individuals and businesses to defer tax payments without interest or penalties, and he urged Congress to cut payroll taxes as part of a set of measures aimed at providing relief during the Coronavirus pandemic.”

In addition, according to an article posted today at AccountingToday.com, The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) requested a delay in the tax deadline, along with other tax relief steps to provide relief to all taxpayers in the midst of the pandemic. The AICPA asked the Treasury and the IRS to extend certain deadlines falling on or after March 15, 2020 and before October 15, 2020 to give individuals more time to file their taxes and make payments through October 15, 2020.”

Individuals And Small Businesses Could Use A Little Stress Relief

According to the same article mentioned above, the AICPA vice president of Taxation, Edward Karl said, “Our recommendation will help give taxpayers, large and small, much needed relief in the midst of this fast-moving emergency situation.” Many Americans will be grateful for that extra time. And, without question, many people will try to push their luck and will still miss the deadline.

Extension Would Not Apply To Large Corporations Or The Wealthy

Even though the President didn’t define any parameters during his address, he did say that the extension wouldn’t apply to large corporations or wealthy Americans. For the rest of America, don’t get too excited yet. The final decision has not been made. So far, it’s just a request. The idea is that a filing extension without late filing penalties buys taxpayers a little more time to deal with the day-to-day concerns of something that is unknown and unknowable to the world at large. No one can tell how this is going to play out. The stress levels are growing daily and extending the tax filing deadlines would definitely be helpful.

Everyone Still Has To File And To Pay Their Taxes

Even though no one knows how long this virus will continue spreading, we can only hope that by the time the warmer spring weather arrives, its spreading will come to an end. In the meantime, it seems that taxpayers could have a little more breathing room for filing and paying taxes. The request from the AICPA included a waiver of late payment penalties if “at least 70% of an individual’s current tax due is paid by April 15, 2020.”  They also asked for interest to be waived through October 15th of this year and underpayment penalties for those who make estimated tax payments to be waived if paid in by September 15th of this year.

A Good Reason To Become An Earlier Tax Filer

This points out another reason to become an early tax filer. Those who have already filed have less stress during a very stressful time. And, those early filers may have already received their tax refund if one was due. Just another among so many reasons to become an early filer.

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