New Taxpayer Advocate highlights COVID-19 effects on the IRS and taxpayers in her first report
6 tax tasks to take care of by July 15

IRS makes it clear: July 15 is Tax Day 2020, but you can get an extension by then if you need

The tax agency has made it clear that the July 15 filing deadline is firm. But you still can get an extension to file, giving you until Oct. 15 to submit your Form 1040. Just ask for it by July 15. Plus, there other filing extension options (and forms on this Tax Form Tuesday!) for other tax circumstances.

July 15 Tax Day 2020 calendar

If you were hoping the Internal Revenue Service would push Tax Day 2020 beyond July 15, sorry. The agency says the already-delayed filing and tax paying deadline for 2019 returns is firm.

When the IRS announced that decision late Monday afternoon (or early evening, depending on your time zone), #TaxTwitter erupted.

Tax pros a-Twitter: For those not on that social media outlet, this is a mostly friendly collection of tax professionals who share tips, experiences, news, advice, scoops and bad jokes on Twitter.

Last night, all that other conversation was replaced by outrage.

In addition to dealing with clients' annual filing of taxes, this crazy tax season they also got sucked into the Payment Protection Program (PPP). Congress created the PPP to help businesses that have encountered COVID-19 financial problems, but it's been, at best, a confusing and time-consuming crisis of its own.

So tax professionals who lost time to PPP, as well as to deciphering lots of other Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (and other tax law) provisions for their clients, were hoping for more time to finish up their myriad tax tasks this filing season.

They also were joined in the upset by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, which reiterated its effort, along with 52 other organizations, to get the Treasury Department to further delay at least the tax payment deadline.

State taxes' likely role: I agree with my fellow Texan Brian Streig that state tax concerns played a role in the IRS' decision to put an end to additional filing delay speculation. (I don't, however, agree as you can see below with Brian's modifier for the Lone Star State!)

Most states collect some type individual income tax. Most of them also follow the IRS schedule for the filing of state taxes. In fact, they even tend to use what a taxpayer has reported on a federal return as the basis for state tax calculations.

That means that these states also have been waiting for their annual collections. And things are getting dire.

Officials in those jurisdictions already are reeling from lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now many of them are facing new fiscal years starting on July 1, with no money to pay for services.

And unlike Uncle Sam, most states are required by their laws and/or constitutions to balance their budgets.

So, for better or worse for taxpayers and tax preparers alike, it looks like July 15 is finally, officially, completely Tax Day this year.

More time to file, not pay: That tax deadline now is just two weeks (and a few hours) away and counting, per the countdown clock over there in the ol' blog's right column. That's why today's Tax Form Tuesday featured document is all the forms!

OK, not all of the forms, but all that will let you get more time to file.

The IRS noted in yesterday's reaffirmation of the July 15 deadline that individual taxpayers can get an automatic extension to file their returns until Oct. 15 by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

That's accomplished by sending the tax agency Form 4868 by still-the-deadline July 15. You can find more on Form 4868 in my May 19 post that declared July 15 is still Tax Day (for now), but Form 4868's Oct. 15 extension option still available.

Form 4868_Fotolia_266387_XS

You can get your tax preparer to file Form 4868 for you. I'm sure they'll be happy to have the extra time.

You also can do so yourself electronically by using tax software, including (if you qualify) Free File.

One thing I want to repeat from that earlier post here today is that Form 4868, as it says in its name, is an extension to file your Form 1040. It is not an extension to pay any tax you owe.

So if you think or know you'll owe when you file, you need to start looking at how to come up with that money now.

Other extension forms: In addition to Form 4868, this Tax Form Tuesday post also presents some other tax forms that will get your more time to file whatever tax forms that the IRS requires of you.

They are listed on IRS.gov's special Extension of Time To File Your Tax Return page.

In addition to Form 4868 for individual filers, that page has links for businesses and corporations to:

  • Form 7004, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns and
  • Form 1138, Extension of Time for Payment of Taxes by a Corporation Expecting a Net Operating Loss Carryback.

Additional forms for other types of tax extensions include:

  • Form 2350, Application for Extension of Time to File U.S. Income Tax Return (For U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad Who Expect to Qualify for Special Tax Treatment);
  • Form 4768, Form 4768, Application for Extension of Time to File a Return and/or Pay U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Taxes;
  • Form 5558, Application for Extension of Time to File Certain Employee Plan Returns;
  • Form 8809, Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns;
  • Form 8868, Application for Extension of Time to File an Exempt Organization Return; and
  • Form 8892, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Form 709 and/or Payment of Gift/Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax.

Whichever of these forms apply any time you face a tax deadline, use it if you need more time.

It's always better to fill out tax forms correctly and send them in later than to hurry to complete them. Rush jobs, be they tax or anything else, tend to end up filled with mistakes.

And from a tax standpoint, hurried filing errors will mean that you'll be dealing with the IRS for even longer.

 

Coronavirus Caveat & More Information
In 2020, we're all dealing with extraordinary circumstances,
both in our daily lives and when it comes to our taxes.
The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to reduce its transmission
and protect ourselves and our families means that,
for the most part, we're focusing on just getting through these trying days.

But life as we knew it before the coronavirus will return,
along with our mundane tax matters.
Here's hoping that happens soon!
In the meantime, you can find more on the virus and its effects on our taxes
by clicking Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Taxes.

 

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