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AICPA Addresses Common Tax Filing Issues During COVID-19


Taxpayers and CPAs throughout the country are faced with unprecedented challenges this tax filing season in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and related closures and shelter-in-place orders. Based on member feedback, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has identified a few key areas in need of immediate relief and provided the latest developments (below) to the 20 most frequently asked questions on tax filing and payment relief.

The full list of questions, with how the AICPA is advocating for clarification and additional relief, can be found by clicking here.

As requirements and guidance change, Ericksen Krentel professionals are available to help you. As questions or concerns arise, we ask that you contact us so we can address them as quickly as possible to ensure we continue to meet your needs. As a reminder, you can always monitor our COVID-19 Updates webpage by clicking here for the latest or monitoring our accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

You can click on any provision in the list below to go directly to that summary (direct link feature may not work on mobile devices):

Because of office shutdowns in major cities, taxpayers may not timely receive or respond to IRS communications/notices sent by mail. Will the IRS provide any relief for late responses due to COVID-19?

The IRS has not yet expressly announced any relief regarding correspondence.
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Has the IRS provided e-signature authorization on all forms to allow e-filing without needing to meet with the taxpayer in person?

The IRS issued a memorandum March 27, 2020, saying they would temporarily accept digital signatures on certain documents to protect their employees. However, it is unclear whether this relief also applies to Form 8879, which would allow millions of taxpayers to e-file their returns. (Unofficially, the IRS has told the AICPA it should assume the new policy only applies to the specific collection forms listed in their memorandum.)
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Has the IRS announced filing or payment relief for Form 706? How can the IRS expect taxpayers and practitioners to file estate tax returns (which are paper) when offices are under mandatory shut down?

Relief only has been addressed for gift taxes and the GST tax. The AICPA has continued to discuss the impractical nature of filing and paying estate taxes on Form 706 in the current environment with Treasury and IRS. The AICPA expects further guidance and relief in this area.
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Was relief for estimated tax payments limited to individuals and corporations (or does it also apply to estates, trusts, S corporations and other entities)?

Relief is available to any taxpayer defined as a “person,” which also includes estates, trusts, S corporations and other entities. However, relief has only been granted for estimated tax payments with an April 15 due date, and not on any other date. Estimated payments on any other date are not deferred.
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How will the IRS treat 2019 over payments and excess first quarter payments?

The IRS has not provided definitive guidance. It is reasonable that 2019 overpayments and excess first quarter payments would be credited to the next payment due.
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Has the IRS indicated whether they are considering relief for the second, third and fourth quarters?

The IRS has not officially provided relief for any payments other than the first quarter.
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Given that the IRS has not provided filing/payment extensions to many types of returns and the extreme difficulty of some taxpayers to meet their filing deadlines, is a zero-extension valid?

The IRS has not provided a response to the AICPA’s question regarding the validity of zero-extensions.
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Has the IRS provided relief for partnership and corporation filings for fiscal year filers with the year ending January 31, 2020?

Filing and payment relief has only been granted if the fiscal year filer had a payment or return due date of April 15 (regardless of extension).
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The CARES Act suspended required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020. What if individuals already took their RMD for 2020? Are they permitted to contribute the amount back into their IRA?

If an individual already took out their RMD for 2020, there is an opportunity to recontribute it as a rollover if it is recontributed within the 60-day rollover period.
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Has the IRS provided filing or payment relief for Form 709? If yes, does the relief extend to GST elections on the return?

They extended filing and payment for Form 709 to July 15 but did not extend relief for the GST election.
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Has the IRS granted any relief for non-income tax payments, such as payroll or excise tax deposits?

There’s no relief for non-income tax payments under recently issued IRS guidance (except for gift tax and GST tax.
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Does the postponement of the April 15 deadline apply to “timely elections?”

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Has an extension been granted to file or revoke certain business elections (such as, method of accounting changes or S corporation elections)?

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Has the IRS provided filing or payment relief for the Form 990 series returns?

Currently, there is no relief for filing or payments related to Form 990 series.
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