I sent this out to my clients on Friday night and am posting in its entirety here for both my clients who check the blog but not their email, and for anyone else who is interested.


ONE: FILING DEADLINE

The Treasury Department announced today (Friday) that the filing deadline for tax returns has been pushed back to July 15th. There is no extension to submit and nothing special to do; July 15th is simply the “new April 15th” this year. 

What this means for you: I am still wanting to get every return done by April 15th, but there are also approximately 130 (!) returns on the list. This is by far a record. This means, I am switching from an “OMG APRIL 15TH HAIR ON FIRE!!!!!” mode to “it will get done when it gets done.”

This means some people who have given me their things in the last week or so may see their return done by, say, April 20th rather than April 15th, since April 15th holds no special significance anymore. If this is a problem please contact me to discuss.

TWO: PAYMENT DEADLINE

If you owe the IRS — and many, many people do this year — the deadline for paying the IRS is now July 15th as well. This extension of time to pay is penalty-free and interest-free. If you owe money to the IRS and your return has not been filed yet, there really is no reason to file until closer to July 15th unless you really want to file and pay before July 15th.

What if you have already filed and set up an electronic withdrawal for payment before April 15th, but now you want to take advantage of the extended payment deadline? The IRS actually has a number you can call: 1-888-353-4537. You can cancel your payment that way, but you must wait “7-10 days” from the filing of your return to do so. Also based on my experiences with calling the IRS recently, you may have a very hard time getting through. (I tried calling a different IRS number a couple of weeks ago and got a message saying “We are too busy to take your call right now, goodbye” and I got hung up on!) But this is what to do if you have an e-withdrawal set up and want to cancel it or change the date.

THREE: MEETINGS WITH ME, GETTING YOUR FILES, FILING ON PAPER

Drop-offs and pickups at my office are fine; longer face-to-face meetings need to take place either over the phone or online via Zoom.

A few of you choose to file your returns on paper. Please contact me (or I will be in touch with you) to discuss logistics, as I am trying to limit trips to the post office for now.

FOUR: MOBILE AND REMOTE CAPABILITIES

I can work with you quite easily remotely. I have a secure portal you can upload files to, and I can take signatures from you electronically. I even have a mobile app that I really haven’t publicized, but it’s handy because the app lets you point your phone’s camera at a document, take a picture of it, and the picture will post to the secure website automatically. 

FIVE: WHERE ARE YOU AT ON THE LIST

I have a spreadsheet available for anyone to view, here: (link removed from this post).

With this spreadsheet you can see: what I am working on that day, and how much (or how little sometimes) progress I am making. In order for the sheet to make sense, you need to know your client ID #. Contact me to get that, if you don’t know the number.

SIX: ESTIMATED TAX PAYMENTS

For the self-employed and others who make estimated tax payments, your 1st quarter estimate for 2020, originally due 4/15, is now due 7/15.

As of now, your 2nd quarter estimate, due 6/15, will be due on 6/15 as usual. This means you will have a strange situation of your 2nd quarter estimate coming due first on 6/15, and then your 1st quarter estimate coming due 7/15. (I will keep watching on this because the 6/15 payment situation may change as that date gets closer.)

SEVEN: PAYMENTS FROM THE GOVERNMENT

Nothing is official yet but it appears some sort of cash payment will be coming to many people from the government, with the amount based on your 2018 tax filing and the amount phased out for both lower incomes and higher incomes. (Details are still sketchy on this.)

How will this payment affect your 2020 taxes? We don’t know, but I will tell you to beware: in the past, these types of payments have sometimes been treated as advance tax credits that need to be accounted for on your next tax return. This means it could be a “negative tax credit” on your 2020 return (i.e. it would reduce your refund or increase the amount owed on your 2020 return).

Hopefully Congress includes a provision saying the payment is not taxable, but for now assume that the tax consequence will probably be the worst-case scenario until we hear otherwise. This is all speculation anyway as nothing has passed as of yet.

ADDENDUM:

This piece was not in Friday’s memo. What about contributions to IRAs or HSAs, which normally have a due date of April 15th? I have yet to see anything definitive from the IRS about this, but presumably the funding deadline for making a 2019 contribution to an IRA or HSA has been pushed back to July 15th as well.

The funding deadline on those things is not technically April 15th, it’s “the due date of your tax return,” which for 2019 returns is July 15th.

UPDATE: Late Monday afternoon the 23rd I received a news alert from the National Association of Tax Practitioners saying that their understanding is that the IRA/HSA etc. funding deadline HAS NOT been pushed back from April 15th. NATP says they have reached out to the IRS for clarification.

UPDATE 2: On Tuesday the IRS released a Q&A about the tax deadline pushback, and confirmed that the deadline pushback applies to IRA and HSA deposits for 2019. See questions 17 and 21: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/filing-and-payment-deadlines-questions-and-answers