Right now, your highest priority is the health of those you love and yourself. But if you have time to read about some non-medical but important matters related to the health crisis, here is a summary of IRS action already taken and federal tax legislation already enacted to ease tax compliance burdens and economic pain caused by COVID-19 (commonly referred to as Coronavirus).
Filing and payment deadlines deferred. After briefly offering more limited relief, the IRS almost immediately pivoted to a policy that provides the following to all taxpayers—meaning all individuals, trusts, estates, partnerships, associations, companies or corporations regardless of whether or how much they are affected by COVID-19:
- For a taxpayer with a Federal income tax return or a Federal income tax payment due on April 15, 2020, the due date for filing and paying is automatically postponed to July 15, 2020, regardless of the size of the payment owed.
- The taxpayer doesn’t have to file Form 4686 (automatic extensions for individuals) or Form 7004 (certain other automatic extensions) to get the extension.
- The relief is for (A) Federal income tax payments (including tax payments on self-employment income) and Federal income tax returns due on April 15, 2020 for the person’s 2019 tax year, and (B) Federal estimated income tax payments (including tax payments on self-employment income) due on April 15, 2020 for the person’s 2020 tax year.
- No extension is provided for the payment or deposit of any other type of Federal tax (e.g. estate or gift taxes) or the filing of any Federal information return.
- As a result of the return filing and tax payment postponement from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, that period is disregarded in the calculation of any interest, penalty, or addition to tax for failure to file the postponed income tax returns or pay the postponed income taxes. Interest, penalties and additions to tax will begin to accrue again on July 16, 2020.
Nebraska Governor Ricketts has indicated that Nebraska filing and payment deadlines are also deferred to conform with the IRS treatment.
Favorable treatment for COVID-19 payments from Health Savings Accounts. Health savings accounts (HSAs) have both advantages and disadvantages relative to Flexible Spending Accounts when paying for health expenses with untaxed dollars. One disadvantage is that a qualifying HSA may not reimburse an account beneficiary for medical expenses until those expenses exceed the required deductible levels. But IRS has announced that payments from an HSA that are made to test for or treat COVID-19 don’t affect the status of the account as an HSA (and don’t cause a tax for the account holder) even if the HSA deductible hasn’t been met. Vaccinations continue to be treated as preventative measures that can be paid for without regard to the deductible amount.
Additional information can be found on the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov
If you have questions about the above or any other tax matters, whether related to COVID-19 or not, give us a call at 402-721-7662.