Anyone can request an automatic tax-filing extension, but some people get extra time without asking, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year the IRS postponed the usual April 15 deadline for filing individual income tax returns until May 17, 2021. Even so, as is the case every year, many Americans will still need more time to meet their tax-filing obligation.
The IRS estimates that more than 16 million taxpayers will get an automatic extension this filing season, either by filing a form or making an electronic tax payment. But some taxpayers, including disaster victims, those serving in a combat zone and Americans living abroad get more time, even if they don’t ask for it. Here are details on each of these special tax-relief provisions.
Victims of the February winter storms in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana have until June 15, 2021, to file their 2020 returns and pay any tax due.
The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in a federally declared disaster area when at least one area qualifies for FEMA’s Individual Assistance program. Ordinarily, this means that taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get disaster tax relief.
This relief also includes more time for making 2020 contributions to IRAs and other plans and making 2021 estimated tax payments. In some cases, relief is also available to people living outside the disaster area if, for example, they have a business located in the disaster area, have tax records located in the disaster area or are assisting in disaster relief.
Taxpayers outside the United States
U.S. citizens and resident aliens who live and work outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico have until June 15, 2021 to file their 2020 tax returns and pay any tax due.
The special June 15 deadline also applies to members of the military on duty outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico who do not qualify for the longer combat zone extension. Affected taxpayers should attach a statement to their return explaining which of these situations apply.
Taxpayers who don’t qualify for any of these three special situations can still get more time to file by submitting a request for an automatic extension. This will extend their filing deadline until Oct. 15, 2021. But because this is only a tax-filing extension, their 2020 tax payments are still due by May 17.
Another option is to pay electronically and get a tax-filing extension. The IRS will automatically process an extension when a taxpayer selects Form 4868 and makes a full or partial federal tax payment by the May 17 due date using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System EFTPS or a debit or credit card. Under this option, there is no need to file a separate Form 4868. Please note, you must register for EFTPS before using.
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance allowing deductions for the payments of eligible expenses when such payments would result (or be expected to result) in the forgiveness of a loan (covered loan) under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Revenue Ruling 2021-02 reflects changes to law contained in the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020, enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Act), Public Law 116-260, which was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020.
The COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020 amended the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to say that no deduction is denied, no tax attribute is reduced, and no basis increase is denied by reason of the exclusion from gross income of the forgiveness of an eligible recipient’s covered loan. This change applies for taxable years ending after March 27, 2020.
Revenue Ruling 2021-02 obsoletes Notice 2020-32 and Revenue Ruling 2020-27. This obsoleted guidance disallowed deductions for the payment of eligible expenses when the payments resulted (or could be expected to result) in forgiveness of a covered loan.
The Internal Revenue Service today announced that interest rates will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning Jan. 1, 2021. The rates will be:
three (3) percent for overpayments [two (2) percent in the case of a corporation];
one-half (0.5) percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000;
three (3) percent for underpayments; and
five (5) percent for large corporate underpayments.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, the rate of interest is determined on a quarterly basis. For taxpayers other than corporations, the overpayment and underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points.
Generally, in the case of a corporation, the underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points and the overpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 2 percentage points. The rate for large corporate underpayments is the federal short-term rate plus 5 percentage points. The rate on the portion of a corporate overpayment of tax exceeding $10,000 for a taxable period is the federal short-term rate plus one-half (0.5) of a percentage point.
The interest rates announced today are computed from the federal short-term rate determined during Oct. 2020 to take effect Nov. 1, 2020, based on daily compounding.
As taxpayers get ready to file their 2021 taxes, they may be thinking about hiring a tax preparer. People should choose a tax preparer wisely. This is important because taxpayers are responsible for all the information on their return, no matter who prepares it for them.
There are different kinds of tax preparers, and a taxpayer’s needs will help determine which kind of preparer is best for them. With that in mind, here are some quick tips to help people choose a preparer.
When choosing a tax professional, taxpayers should:
Check the IRS Directory of Preparers. While it is not a complete listing of tax preparers, it does include those who are enrolled agents, CPAs and attorneys, as well as those who participate in the Annual Filing Season Program.
Ask about fees. Taxpayers should avoid tax return preparers who base their fees on a percentage of the refund or who offer to deposit all or part of your refund into their financial accounts.
Be wary of tax return preparers who claim they can get larger refunds than others.
Ask if they plan to use e-file.
Make sure the preparer is available. People should consider whether the individual or firm will be around for months or years after filing the return. Taxpayers should do this because they might need the preparer to answer questions about the preparation of the tax return.
Ensure the preparer signs and includes their preparer tax identification number. Paid tax return preparers must have a PTIN to prepare tax returns.
Check the person’s credentials. Only attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents can represent taxpayers before the IRS in tax matters. Other tax return preparers who participate in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program have limited practice rights to represent taxpayers during audits of returns they prepared.
Las tarjetas de regalo son un regalo popular y conveniente para todas las ocasiones. También son una herramienta que usan los estafadores para robar dinero a las personas.
Los estafadores suelen atacar a los contribuyentes pidiéndoles que paguen una factura de impuestos falsa con tarjetas de regalo. También pueden usar una cuenta de correo electrónico comprometida para enviar correos electrónicos que solicitan compras de tarjetas de regalo para amigos, familiares o compañeros de trabajo. El IRS les recuerda a los contribuyentes que las tarjetas de regalo son para obsequios, no para pagar impuestos.
Así es como suele ocurrir esta estafa:
La manera más común en que los estafadores solicitan tarjetas de regalo es por teléfono, a través de una estafa en la que se hacen pasar por el gobierno. Sin embargo, también solicitarán tarjetas de regalo al enviar un mensaje de texto, correo electrónico o a través de las redes sociales.
Un estafador que se hace pasar por un agente del IRS llamará al contribuyente o le dejará un mensaje de voz con un número de teléfono informándole que está vinculado a alguna actividad delictiva. Por ejemplo, el estafador le dirá al contribuyente que su identidad ha sido robada y usada para abrir cuentas bancarias falsas.
El estafador amenazará o acosará al contribuyente diciéndole que debe pagar una multa tributaria ficticia.
El estafador le indica al contribuyente que compre tarjetas de regalo en varias tiendas.
Una vez que el contribuyente compra las tarjetas de regalo, el estafador le pedirá al contribuyente que proporcione el número de la tarjeta de regalo y el PIN.
Organizations that meet specified requirements under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code may qualify for tax-exempt status. These include charities, social welfare organizations, civic leagues, social clubs, labor organizations and business leagues. Most organizations are required to apply for recognition as tax-exempt.
Here are some key things that charities should know about the application process:
Application includes a fee The application must be complete. It must also include a user fee.
Step-by-step review process available The application process on IRS.gov includes a step-by-step review of what an organization needs to know and what to do in order to apply for tax-exempt status.
Organizations that don’t need to apply There are a few types of organizations that do not need to apply for 501(c)(3) status to be tax-exempt. These are churches and their integrated auxiliaries, and also public charities whose annual gross receipts are normally less than $5,000.
Employer identification number required An employer identification number is an organization’s account number with the IRS and is required for the organization to apply for tax exempt status. Every tax-exempt organization should have an EIN, regardless of whether the organization has employees. Organizations may apply for an EIN online, by fax or by mail. International applicants may apply by phone.
Timeframe to notify the IRS Generally, a charitable organization that is required to apply for recognition of exemption must notify the IRS within 27 months from the date it was formed to be recognized as exempt from formation.
Classification as a private foundation or public charity When the agency determines an organization qualifies for exemption under Section 501(c)(3), it will also be classified as a private foundation, unless the organization meets the requirements to be treated as a public charity.
Documents available to the public A charitable organization must make certain documents available to the public. These include its approved application for recognition of exemption with all supporting documents and its last three annual information returns.
Requests for documents
The organization must provide copies of these documents upon request. The organization may charge a reasonable fee for reproduction and copying costs. Organizations that fail to comply may face penalties.
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.
Who Can Apply
The following entities affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) may be eligible:
Any small business concern that meets SBA’s size standards (either the industry based sized standard or the alternative size standard)
Any business, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, 501(c)(19) veterans organization, or Tribal business concern (sec. 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act) with the greater of 500 employees, or that meets the SBA industry size standard if more than 500
Any business with a NAICS Code that begins with 72 (Accommodations and Food Services) that has more than one physical location and employs less than 500 per location
Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed persons
Loan Details and Forgiveness
The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.
Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.
This loan has a maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of 1%.
The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.
Although the IRS often finds and corrects errors during processing, there are certain situations in which a taxpayer may need to file an amended return to make a correction. Here are some quick tips for anyone who discovered they made a mistake or forgot to include something on their tax return.
Don’t amend for math errors or missing forms. Taxpayers generally
don’t need to file an amended return to correct math errors on their original
return. The IRS may correct math or clerical errors on a return and may accept
it even if the taxpayer forgot to attach certain tax forms or schedules. The
IRS will mail a letter to the taxpayer, if necessary, requesting additional
Wait until receiving refund for tax year 2018 before filing.
Taxpayers who are due refunds from their original tax year 2018 tax return
should wait for the IRS to process the return and they receive the refund
before filing Form 1040-X to claim an additional refund. It may take the IRS up
to 16 weeks to process amended returns.
File Form 1040-X to amend. Taxpayers must file on paper using Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct their tax return. While taxpayers can use software to prepare Form 1040-X, they can’t file Form 1040-X electronically. Taxpayers should indicate the year of the original return and explain all changes made by attaching any forms or schedules. Taxpayers then sign and mail the Form 1040-X to the address listed in the instructions. Taxpayers filing Form 1040-X in response to an IRS letter should mail it to the address shown on the letter.
Amend to correct errors. Taxpayers should correct their return if they find that they should have claimed a different filing status or didn’t report some income. Taxpayers who claimed deductions or credits they shouldn’t have claimed or didn’t claim deductions or credits they could have claimed may need to file an amended return. Changes made on a federal return may also affect state taxes. The taxpayer should contact the state tax agency to see if this is so.
Pay additional tax. Taxpayers who will owe more tax should file Form 1040-X and pay the tax as soon as possible to avoid penalties and interest. They should consider using IRS Direct Pay to pay any tax directly from a checking or savings account for free.
File within three-year time limit. Taxpayers generally have three
years from the date they filed their original tax return to file Form 1040-X to
claim a refund. They can file it within two years of the date they paid the
tax, if that date is later.
Use separate forms if amending more than one tax year. Taxpayers must
file a Form 1040-X for each tax year and mail each year’s form in a separate
envelope to avoid confusion. They should check the box for the calendar year or
enter the other calendar year or fiscal year they are amending. The form’s
instructions have the mailing address for the amended return.
The IRS warns taxpayers to avoid unethical tax return preparers, known as ghost preparers. By law, anyone who is paid to prepare or assist in preparing federal tax returns must sign the return and include their Preparer Tax Identification Number.
‘Ghost’ preparers, however, avoid signing the tax return. Instead, they often inflate any potential refund and print the return and instruct the taxpayer to sign and mail it to the IRS. Or, for e-filed returns, they prepare but do not digitally sign it as a paid preparer to avoid scrutiny.
Taxpayers can report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If a taxpayer suspects a tax preparer filed or changed their tax return without their consent, they should file Form 14157-A, Tax Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit.
Employers face a January 31, 2018, due date for filing 2017 Forms W-2 and W-3 with the Social Security Administration. This date applies to both electronic and paper filers.
Form 1099-MISC is due to the IRS and individuals by January 31 when reporting non-employee compensation payments in box 7.
Penalties for failure to file correct information returns or furnish correct payee statements have increased and are now subject to inflationary adjustments. These increased penalties are effective for information returns required to be filed after December 31, 2015.