(Note: Updated March 13, 2020)
Will tax season close on time? Increasingly, taxpayers and tax professionals believe that there may be an extension of the tax filing season due to concerns about COVID-19.
COVID-19 is the official name for the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, as of March 12, 2020, there are 125,288 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 118 territories and countries. Of those, 987 cases are in the United States.
Despite suggestions that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) could extend the filing season, there's been no official or specific announcement. Last week, the IRS noted that it was monitoring the coronavirus and will "promptly respond to any emerging situations to protect our employees and taxpayers interacting with the agency." The IRS advises that "Taxpayers should continue to file and submit tax returns as they normally would."
So far, there has also been no official proposal in Congress to extend the deadline in 2020. As of today, the deadline for filing your individual federal income tax returns remains April 15, 2020. If you need more time to file your federal income tax returns, consider filing for an extension.
Some states and municipalities are extending filing and payment deadlines for businesses and individuals. So far, those include:
California: Taxpayers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are granted an extension to file 2019 California tax returns and make certain payments until June 15, 2020, in line with Governor Newsom’s March 12 Executive Order. This relief includes moving the various tax filing and payment deadlines that occur on March 15, 2020, through June 15, 2020, to June 15, 2020. This includes:
- Partnerships and LLCs who are taxed as partnerships whose tax returns are due on March 15 now have a 90-day extension to file and pay by June 15.
- Individual filers whose tax returns are due on April 15 now have a 60-day extension to file and pay by June 15.
- Quarterly estimated tax payments due on April 15 now have a 60-day extension to pay by June 15.
The FTB’s June 15 extended due date may be pushed back even further if the Internal Revenue Service grants a longer relief period.
Taxpayers claiming the special relief should write COVID-19 in black ink at the top of the tax return to alert FTB of the special extension period. If taxpayers are e-filing, they should follow the software instructions to enter disaster information.
The FTB will also waive interest and any late filing or late payment penalties that would otherwise apply.
- Extends business-related tax filing deadlines. The June 1st extension applies to certain business returns with due dates during the months of March, April and May 2020 for businesses filing sales and use tax, withholding tax, and admissions & amusement tax, as well as alcohol, tobacco, and motor fuel excise taxes, tire recycling fee and bay restoration fee returns. Business taxpayers who file and pay by the extended due date will receive a waiver of interest and penalties.
- If the IRS extends its April 15 filing deadline for corporate and individual income tax returns, Maryland will conform to the decision of the IRS.
- The agency has set up a dedicated email address (firstname.lastname@example.org)to assist businesses with extension-related questions. Business owners can also call the Comptroller's Ombudsman at 410-260-4020.
Washington: Revenue will work with businesses that cannot file or pay their taxes on time due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Businesses can request an extension or penalty waiver by sending a secure email in their My DOR account or by calling Revenue's customer service staff at 360-705-6705, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Businesses can also request rescheduling of a planned audit (contact the auditor); more time to file a business license or registration renewal (Call Business Licensing Service at 360-705-6741 or by email at BLS@dor.wa.gov); or an extension of its expiring resellers permit (Call 360-705-6705 or by email at Reseller@dor.wa.gov).
Some states are also closing their tax offices to the public. So far, closures and recommended alternatives include:
Georgia: Due to concerns regarding COVID-19, the DOR is encouraging all taxpayers to conduct their business with the DOR through online services. The DOR offers a number of motor vehicle and tax related services online, without the need of in-person interactions.
Ohio: Effective immediately, the Ohio Department of Taxation has closed its walk-in center due to Coronavirus concerns.
Pennsylvania: Starting March 13, the Department of Revenue’s district office in Norristown and Harrisburg are closed to the public. This action is being taken to protect the health and safety of the public and commonwealth employees as mitigation efforts are ongoing to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. Find Revenue phone numbers and answers to common tax questions: www.revenue.pa.gov
Please understand that this situation is changing rapidly, and I'm posting information as quickly as I can confirm it. I've included links to Revenue websites, where possible. Please check with Revenue (and local government) websites and your tax professional for more information or if you have questions.
Check back regularly: I'll continue to update you as information becomes available. If you have an update or tip, here's how to reach me (including secure methods).