We Are All In This Together…Tax Answers and a Whole Lot of “It Depends” in the age of Coronavirus

Dear Clients, Colleagues, and Friends:

While we are receiving many “Closed” emails right now, this is an “Open” email. I am here and want to help you. I understand that many folks face at least some level of anxiety around their tax situation this time of the year and this particular year has been one like no other.

I am responding to your emails as promptly and as fully as I can. Please don’t stop them coming. I am happy to answer each one. Understand that I may be a little bit slower than usual, but I see you and am working to get to you.

I am triaging communications. If you have a “quick question” it probably won’t be answered quickly. If you are considering shutting down your business or facing a layoff, I will respond just as soon as I can.

If you’d like to connect via phone or video, please email me to schedule a time. Also see below for answers to some questions you may have.

Some of us are seeing financial struggles already. Some of us can see them on the horizon. Some of us are looking for opportunities in all of this. Some of us are worried for our health and the health of those close to us.

Use your best judgment. Exercise excessive empathy, starting with yourself. Do what you’re able to stay safe and healthy. Help others if you can.

Much love,

 

Alicyn


Q1: Has the IRS changed the April 15th 2020 tax deadline for tax filings and/or tax payments? As of the morning of Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 not yet, although we should have an affirmative word on this soon. The Treasury Secretary announced Tuesday, March 17th that there would be 90-day grace period to pay taxes, but the IRS has not yet released authoritative guidance on the details. In any event, I will be discussing with each of my clients what makes the most sense for them based on their unique circumstances. 

Q2: Do I have to file my tax returns by April 15th, 2020? Extending has always been an option and remains one. Extensions for personal tax returns are filed using Form 4868. It appears that Form 4868 will be necessary right now, but I advise filing one even if IRS announces it’s not mandatory. If you are my client, we may be filing one for you depending on your specific situation. This would normally extend the filing of your return to October 15th, 2020. It’s unclear if a further extension will later be made available.

Q3: Do I have to pay what I owe for 2019 to the IRS by April 15th, 2020? Again, we have to wait for IRS guidance on this, but I wouldn’t let it be your top concern. If you have the cash and owe a small amount, you may choose to pay it and move on. If you owe a large amount and/or don’t have the cash for the payment, you may prefer to hold onto it regardless of ultimate IRS guidance. I will be having these discussions individually with each client as everyone’s situation is slightly different.  

Q4: Do I have to make a 2020 1st quarter estimated tax payment by April 15th, 2020? See Q3 discussion.

Q5: I’ve already filed my 2019 tax return, but haven’t yet paid my 2019 balance. Do I need to pay that by April 15th, 2020? See Q3 discussion and contact me.

Q6: I file tax returns in one or more states. How is my state addressing April 15th filings and payments? Every state is different. Some have already announced filing and payment delays. Some may be waiting on IRS guidance. If you are a client, we will determine together how to approach outstanding state filings and payments. Note that most states either automatically extend tax returns unfiled by April 15th or accept a federal extension as a state extension. To be clear, this applies to filings and not payments.

Q7: I’m expecting a refund with my 2019 tax return. When should I file my return? As soon as all your information is available barring some other valid reason for extending. In other words, the April 15th deadline, whether it changes or not, is likely irrelevant to you.

Q8: I’m confused, frustrated, scared and you know a lot about my financial situation. Can we talk? You bet. Email me some good days and times so we can speak soon.

Q9: Where can I go for updates about impacts to taxes? Me or https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus. Be careful what you read online that does not come directly from the IRS and/or state taxing authorities. A politician’s promise is not authoritative guidance for your particular situation.

Q10: Cake or pie? That’s a tough one, but I’m pretty sure apple pie is the winner.

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