IRS Provides FAQs on 2019 Federal Income Tax Deadline Extensions

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) last week announced special federal income tax return filing and payment relief in response to the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency.  Today the IRS released some answers to frequently asked questions related to the relief. Below are a few of the questions that are likely to be of interest to federal employees and retirees.

The answers to these questions provide responses to general inquiries and are not citable as legal authority,” the IRS said. “Accordingly, the Treasury Department and the IRS are continuing to consider additional IRB guidance on these issues addressed in these FAQs.”  See the end of this article for a link to the complete list of updated FAQs on the IRS website.

Who is eligible for the extension?

Any person with a Federal income tax return or payment due on April 15, 2020, is eligible for relief under the Notice. “Person” includes any type of taxpayer, such as an individual, a trust, an estate, a corporation, or any type of unincorporated business entity. The payment due refers to both 2019 Federal income tax payments (including payments of tax on self-employment income) and 2020 estimated Federal income tax payments (including payments of tax on self-employment income), regardless of the amount owed. The return or payment must be due on April 15, 2020 – this relief does not apply to Federal income tax returns and payments due on any other date.

Do I have to actually be sick, or quarantined, or have any other impact from COVID-19 to qualify for payment relief?

No, you do not have to be sick, or quarantined, or have any other impact from COVID-19 to qualify for relief. You only need to have a Federal income tax return or payment due on April 15, 2020, as described above.

What are the form numbers of the specific federal income tax returns whose filing deadlines have been postponed?

The Notice postpones the filing and payment of Federal income taxes reported on the following forms: 

Form 1040, 1040-SR, 1040-NR, 1040-NR-EZ, 1040-PR, 1040-SS 
Form 1041, 1041-N, 1041-QFT
Form 1120, 1120-C, 1120-F, 1120-FSC, 1120-H, 1120-L, 1120-ND, 1120-PC, 1120-POL, 1120-REIT, 1120-RIC, 1120-SF
Form 8960
Form 8991

With respect to Form 990-T, if that Form is due to be filed on April 15, then it has been postponed to July 15 under the Notice. For taxpayers whose Form 990-T is due on May 15, that due date has not been postponed under the Notice.

With respect to returns due on March 16, 2020, which include Form 1065, Form 1065-B, Form 1066, and Form 1120-S for calendar year taxpayers, the filing of those returns has not been postponed.

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

Does this provide me more time to contribute money to my IRA for 2019?

Yes. Contributions can be made to your IRA, for a particular year, at any time during the year or by the due date for filing your return for that year. Because the due date for filing Federal income tax returns has been postponed to July 15, the deadline for making contributions to your IRA for 2019 is also extended to July 15, 2020. For more details on IRA contributions, see Publication 590-A, Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).

Does this provide me more time to contribute money to my HSA or Archer MSA for 2019?

Yes. Contributions may be made to your HSA or Archer MSA, for a particular year, at any time during the year or by the due date for filing your return for that year. Because the due date for filing Federal income tax returns is now July 15, 2020, under this relief, you may make contributions to your HSA or Archer MSA for 2019 at any time up to July 15, 2020. For more details on HSA or Archer MSA contributions, see Publication 969, Health Savings Accounts and other Tax-Favored Health Plans.

I haven’t filed my 2019 federal income tax return yet, but I expect to file it by July 15. What do I need to do?

Nothing, except file and pay any tax due with your return by July 15. You don’t need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic Federal tax filing and payment relief. If you expect a refund, you are encouraged to file your return as soon as you can so that you can receive your refund. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds. If you need more time beyond July 15 to file your return, request an automatic extension of time to file as described next.

What if I am unable to file my 2019 federal income tax return that would have been due on April 15 by July 15, 2020?

If you are an individual, you can request an automatic extension to file your Federal income tax return if you can’t file by the July 15 deadline. The easiest and fastest way to request a filing extension is to electronically file Form 4868 through your tax professional, tax software, or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses, including trusts, must file Form 7004.

You must request the automatic extension by July 15, 2020. If you properly estimate your 2019 tax liability using the information available to you and file an extension form by July 15, 2020, your tax return will be due on October 15, 2020. To avoid interest and penalties when filing your tax return after July 15, 2020, pay the tax you estimate as due with your extension request.

Does this apply to state income tax liabilities?

No, this relief applies only to Federal income tax payments. State filing and payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the Federal filing and payment deadline. We urge you to check with your state tax agencies for those details. More information is available at https://www.taxadmin.org/state-tax-agencies.

Full List of Updated IRS FAQs

The IRS said these questions and answers will be updated periodically and “are designed to be a flexible tool to communicate information to taxpayers and tax professionals in this changing environment.” To view the complete list of FAQs, go to:  https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/filin

Social Security Closes Local Offices, But Continues Critical Services and Benefit Payments

The Social Security Administration announced that all of its local Social offices will be closed to the public for in-person service effective   March 17, 2020. The agency said the decision protects the population they serve — older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions — and their employees during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  It will, however, still provide critical services during this time.

 “Our secure and convenient online services remain available at www.socialsecurity.gov,” the agency said. “Local offices will also continue to provide critical services over the phone. We are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local governments, and other experts to monitor COVID-19 and will let you know as soon as we can resume in-person service.”

Social Security Benefit Payments Will Continue As Normal

“I want you to hear directly from me how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our services. The first thing you should know is that we continue to pay benefits,” said Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security on March 18. “To protect you and help stop the spread of this coronavirus, we cannot accept visitors in our offices at this time.”

Beware of Scams

Saul also warned beneficiaries of potential scams. “Be aware that scammers may try to trick you into thinking the pandemic is stopping your Social Security payments but that is not true,” Saul said. “Don’t be fooled.”

Online and Phone Services Available

The agency provided direction on how to access help from Social Security below:

First, please use our secure and convenient online services available at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices. You can apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits online, check the status of an application or appeal, request a replacement Social Security card (in most areas), print a benefit verification letter, and much more – from anywhere and from any of your devices. We also have a wealth of information to answer most of your Social Security questions online, without having to speak with a Social Security representative in person or by phone. Please visit our online Frequently Asked Questions at www.socialsecurity.gov/ask.

If you cannot conduct your Social Security business online, please check our online field office locator for specific information about how to directly contact your local office. Your local office still will be able to provide critical services to help you apply for benefits, answer your questions, and provide other services over the phone.

If you already have an in-office appointment scheduled, we will call you to handle your appointment over the phone instead. If you have a hearing scheduled, we will call you to discuss alternatives for continuing with your hearing, including offering a telephonic hearing. Our call may come from a PRIVATE number and not from a U.S. Government phone. Please remember that our employees will not threaten you or ask for any form of payment.

If you cannot complete your Social Security business online, please call our National 800 Number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Our National 800 Number has many automated service options you can use without waiting to speak with a telephone representative. A list of automated telephone services is available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/agency/contact/phone.html.

Federal Income Tax Payment Deadline Extended to July 15, 2020

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are providing special payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak.

The filing deadline for tax returns remains April 15, 2020.

The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. For those who can’t file by the April 15, 2020 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request a six-month extension to file their return.

What the Federal Tax Payment Relief Includes

Individuals: Income tax payment deadlines for individual returns, with a due date of April 15, 2020, are being automatically extended until July 15, 2020, for up to $1 million of their 2019 tax due.

This payment relief applies to all individual returns, including self-employed individuals, and all entities other than C-Corporations, such as trusts or estates.

IRS will automatically provide this relief to taxpayers. Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this relief.

Corporations: For C Corporations, income tax payment deadlines are being automatically extended until July 15, 2020, for up to $10 million of their 2019 tax due.

Estimated Taxes:  This relief also includes estimated tax payments for tax year 2020 that are due on April 15, 2020.

Penalties and interest will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of July 16, 2020. If you file your tax return or request an extension of time to file by April 15, 2020, you will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by July 15.

The IRS reminds individual taxpayers the easiest and fastest way to request a filing extension is to electronically file Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses must file Form 7004.

State Income Tax Payments

This relief only applies to federal income tax (including tax on self-employment income) payments otherwise due April 15, 2020, not state tax payments or deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax.

Taxpayers also will need to file income tax returns in 42 states plus the District of Columbia.  State filing and payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the federal filing deadline.

The IRS urges taxpayers to check with their state tax agencies for those details. More information is available at https://www.taxadmin.org/state-tax-agencies.

For more information, see the Treasury Department’s website here: https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm948

Medicare Expands Telehealth Benefits for Beneficiaries During COVID-19 Outbreak

The Trump administration yesterday announced expanded Medicare telehealth coverage that will enable beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility.

Beginning on March 6, 2020, Medicare — administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) — will temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country.

“The Trump Administration is taking swift and bold action to give patients greater access to care through telehealth during the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Administrator Seema Verma. “These changes allow seniors to communicate with their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility so that they can limit risk of exposure and spread of this virus. Clinicians on the frontlines will now have greater flexibility to safely treat our beneficiaries.”

Prior to this announcement, Medicare was only allowed to pay clinicians for telehealth services such as routine visits in certain circumstances.

For example, the beneficiary receiving the services must live in a rural area and travel to a local medical facility to get telehealth services from a doctor in a remote location. In addition, the beneficiary would generally not be allowed to receive telehealth services in their home.

A range of healthcare providers, such as doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers, will be able to offer telehealth to Medicare beneficiaries.

Equine Model Portfolio Launched

Tom Cooper, CFP, a local Ocala Financial Adviser and Walter Hester, Senior Portfolio Manager at NAMCOA, have launched a new model portfolio aimed at the Equine Industry.

The Equine Model Portfolio is an actively managed equity long portfolio with an objective of providing long term capital appreciation and dividends. The portfolio will consist of an equity weighted portfolio of 15 to 30 publicly traded companies that directly produce products or services to the equine. The Equine Portfolio focuses primarily on U.S. large-cap stocks, but can invest in mid to small cap equities and foreign companies as well. The portfolio does not use any leverage and is re-balanced semi-annually.

Please click this link for an overview Equine Portfolio Oveview

For more information, please contact Tom Cooper, CFP. 

Managed Accounts over Mutual Funds

Many investors complain that do not get to interact with the portfolio manager of their mutual fund and really don’t know at any one moment what they actually own.

However, having money invested in a SMA (Managed Account), changes that perpsective and by in dong so, provides other client benefits.  Click here to view SMA’s vs Mutual Funds  general comparison.

For more information, please contact Tom Cooper.

The 1031 Exchange Roadmap

Advantages of a 1031 exchange include many things aside from the tax benefits. Investors can consolidate, diversify, move markets, or increase income potential on their current investment property.

Some people choose to do a 1031 exchange to acquire more income. For example, they can exchange vacant land for commercial or residential real estate. The investor is able to increase income potential by exchanging a property that is not generating any revenue, such as land, into real estate that has greater income potential like commercial and residential real estate.

Another advantage of doing a 1031 exchange is consolidation. Depending on the investor’s situation, they may not want to manage multiple properties. They can exchange their properties into one larger investment property that is easier to manage. Others are tired of managing properties and of being a landlord altogether. These investors can exchange from a residential or commercial property into a more manageable and less time consuming piece of land.

Some investors are looking to diversify. With a 1031 exchange they can exchange one property for multiple property types. For example, an investor can exchange their residential investment property into a commercial, residential, and vacant piece of land. This is one of the most attractive of the advantages of a 1031 exchange!

A 1031 exchange is great for investors who have multiple properties in other states or for investors who are moving markets. Instead of traveling from state to state to manage multiple properties, investors can exchange the out of state real estate into property that’s in one state. If the investor is moving markets, for example from one state to another, they can exchange their investment property in the current states for an investment property in another state.

Every situation is unique when considering the advantages of a 1031 exchange, and it is always advised that the taxpayer consult with his or her tax advisors before making any decisions!