COVID-19 News: Postponements of Tax Return Filing and Payment Dates

Federal Law.  On April 9, 2020, the IRS issued Notice 2020-23, amplifying earlier Notices 2020-18 and 2020-20.  Notice 2020-23 indicates that because of the COVID-19 emergency, the due dates for filing federal tax returns and payment of taxes due on or after April 1, 2020 and before July 15, 2020 have been postponed to July 15, 2020.  The postponements are automatic; taxpayers are not required to take any action, such as filing an extension request, in order to qualify for the relief.

The Notice confirms the grant of additional time to file individual, corporate, partnership, and estate and trust income tax returns to July 15, 2020.  Estate, gift, and generation-skipping tax returns and payment due dates have been similarly postponed.

The Notice also clarifies that not only first quarter estimated income tax payments due April 15, but also second quarter estimates due June 15, have a new due date of July 15.

Taxpayers may choose to file an appropriate extension request by July 15, 2020, to obtain a filing extension. For example, a taxpayer can file Form 4868 by July 15, 2020, to extend the due date of the 2019 1040, but the extension granted will only be to October 15, 2020, the original extension date for 2019 individual tax returns.  Further, there is no extension available for the tax payment–the tax will still be due on July 15, 2020.

Similarly, taxpayers who need additional time to file U.S. Estate and Gift tax returns may file extension requests on Forms 4768 and Form 8892, respectively.  However, no extension may be obtained for the payment of any estate taxes, gift taxes, or generation-skipping taxes that are due on the postponed date of July 15, 2020, and any taxes remaining unpaid after that date may be subject to interest and penalties.

New Jersey Follows Suit.  On April 14, 2020 Governor Murphy signed into law the “COVID-19 Fiscal Mitigation Act” (P.L. 2020, c.19) that automatically extends the due date to July 15, 2020 for certain tax filings and payments originally due on April 15, 2020.

Individual gross income tax, partnership, and corporation business tax calendar year filers now have until July 15 to file and pay these taxes, including estimated tax payments due on April 15. Penalties and interest will not be imposed on the balance of tax due between the original due date and the extended due date for returns and payments submitted by July 15, 2020.

Note that New Jersey second quarter estimated tax payments continue to be due June 15, 2020.

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