Updated: 10:50pm, Wednesday, March 18, 2020
On Wednesday, the president and CEO of the American Institute of CPAs’ (AICPA), Barry Melancon, CPA, made the following statement in response to the Treasury’s recent statement on tax payment relief:
“On Monday, we learned that the administration is allowing certain taxpayers to delay tax payments for 90 days and is providing interest and penalty relief, and today it released its formal notice. Unfortunately, this important payment relief does not apply to the filing of tax returns. The concern and confusion related to coronavirus is causing cities across the country to shut businesses down, and Treasury’s recent decisions do not reflect the real-world difficulties tax practitioners and their clients are experiencing.”
[Note: in an early version of our coverage of the Treasury Department announcement on Tuesday, we incorrectly stated the filing deadline had also been changed, but that is incorrect. The filing deadline is still April 15 (as of this article time/date), but payments can be delayed until July 15, 2020. We apologize for the error. We also expect the IRS to respond to the AICPA request for a filing deadline change.]
Melancon continued, “The AICPA understands the need for economic stimulus and, if possible, those who can file and get refunds should do so now. However, it is impossible for every taxpayer and their tax adviser to prepare returns in this environment. Nearly 60% of all taxpayers turn to a tax practitioner to prepare and file their tax returns, and individual and business tax filing deadlines are fast approaching. Even the relatively simple process of filing an extension form requires calculations based on data and information from the taxpayer. Given the current environment, this extension process is impossible for many taxpayers. Treasury must act immediately by extending the April 15th filing deadline and providing more clarity on the details of recent relief actions.”
Later on Wednesday (March 18, 2020), the AICPA sent this out via email to its members:
Dear Sec. Mnuchin: Treasury must act immediately by extending the April 15th filing deadline to July 15th. Unfortunately, the important payment relief that was announced Tuesday and formalized in today’s notice does not apply to the filing of tax returns and does not reflect the real-world difficulties tax practitioners and their clients are facing.
Cities across the country are having to shut businesses down because of the coronavirus pandemic, and it is impossible for every taxpayer and their tax adviser to prepare returns in this environment. Nearly 60% of all taxpayers turn to a tax practitioner to prepare and file their tax returns, and individual and business tax filing deadlines are fast approaching. We need immediate action.
We understand that these are uncertain and challenging times for the Treasury Department, and the CPA profession wants to help the system function well. To do that, we need payment and filing relief together. Thank you for your work to guide the country through these difficult days.
Edward Karl, CPA, AICPA vice president of tax policy and advocacy, added, “We understand that these are uncertain and challenging times for the Department of the Treasury. In the past, when relief was provided for a disaster, taxpayers have typically received payment and filing relief together. It is very surprising that we have not yet seen filing relief given the severity of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on our nation. We continue to communicate the need for filing relief and clarity to Treasury and hope to see action soon.”
The AICPA continues to encourage its members to refer to the following resources that can help them manage clients’ needs and their business at this time:
- On March 11, the AICPA called for the Treasury Department and the IRS to provide relief to all taxpayers in light of the uncertainty and challenges caused by the spread of the coronavirus ( ).
- The IRS has provided more information on what a national emergency may mean for taxpayers and tax practitioners: .
- U.S. states are providing tax filing relief for individuals and businesses. The AICPA has compiled the latest developments on state tax filings related to coronavirus (more here)
- CPAs’ clients may need assistance with their tax returns and business affairs during this filing season’s uncertainty. AICPA guidance and tools.
- Casualty loss and disaster relief resources are also available (more here).