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The Tax Blotter: June 11, 2020

The Tax Blotter is a roundup of recent tax news.

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The IRS pushed back the due date for filing 2019 returns from April 15 to July 15.  Here are several key points relating to the extension.

Get a second extension. In response to the national health crisis, the IRS postponed the usual April 15 tax filing deadline to July 15. This extension also applies to payment of tax liability on a 2019 return. What’s more, you can still obtain the automatic six-month filing extension by filing a request on Form 4868. This enables you to file your 2019 return as late as October 15. Caveat: This second extension does NOT extend the due date for paying tax beyond July 15. 

Spread out estimated tax. The extension of “Tax Day” for 2019 returns also applies to estimated tax. Initially, the IRS ruled that payment of the first quarterly installment of estimated tax for 2020—normally due on April 15—was postponed to July 15. Then it subsequently delayed the due date for the second quarter from June 15 to July 15 as well. But taxpayers may want to split up the payments somewhat to avoid a big one-time cash crunch in mid-July.  

File tax return ‘over there.’ Normally, U.S. taxpayers who live and work abroad don’t have to file their tax returns until June 15—or two months later than most Americans. But the IRS has given those who are overseas even more leeway this year. They can now also take until July 15 to file and pay tax on a 2019 return. In addition, note that members of the military qualify for an extra 180 days for tax filing if they are serving in a combat zone or are deployed outside the U.S. while participating in a contingency operation.