by Gregory S. Dowell
March 21, 2020
Following the recent announcement via tweet from the U.S. Treasury Secretary, the IRS released Notice 2020-18 late on Friday, indicating that due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, tax returns due April 15 will not have to be filed until July 15 this year. The IRS Notice indicates that the postponed due date applies to any “individual, a trust, estate, partnership, association, company or corporation” that has a federal income tax return or income tax payment due on April 15th will receive an automatic postponement of the due date to July 15th. There is no need to file an extension form to get this postponement.
Notice 2020-18 further confirms that no interest, penalty, or addition to tax for failure to file a federal income tax return or to pay federal income taxes will accrue between April 15, 2020, and July 15, 2020, for any return or payment postponed by the notice.
Friday’s notice applies only to federal income tax returns and payments, including self-employment tax payments, that would normally have been due on April 15, 2020, for 2019 tax years, as well as to estimated income tax payments due April 15, 2020, for 2020 tax years. The notice explicitly states that it does not apply to any other type of federal tax or to any federal information return.
Many states have not reacted yet to indicate whether they will follow the federal lead on allowing automatic extensions or payments deferrals. As a practical matter, if will be very difficult for states to impose either their original filing due dates or payment due dates following the federal actions, as many states require a taxpayer to calculate a federal return prior to calculating the state return. Further, a state’s requirement to pursue either filing or paying by the original due dates would impose an undue burden on taxpayers and tax preparers.