Consultants brace for flood of tax-filing extensions on account of Covid aid
Senator Angus King, I-Maine, announcing the $ 900 billion Covid-19 Relief Act on Capitol Hill on December 1, 2020.
Tasos Katopodis | Getty Images News | Getty Images
The IRS may not have extended the deadline for Americans to file their tax returns as it did last year, but there is a chance millions of taxpayers will be requesting additional time to file their taxes this season.
“There will be more renewals than normal this year, and that’s fine as long as people pay taxes on their renewals,” said Tracy Marrin, principal and director of tax consulting at financial services and advisory firm Rehmann. “Better to extend the return and perform it properly than to file it and change it later.”
Potential penalties and interest for taxes owed apply from April 15th for taxpayers and natural persons of the calendar year C-corp. (Registration deadline for partnerships and S-Corps [most small businesses], is March 15.) Taxpayers can apply for an extension of six months until the registration deadline.
The complexity this year comes from the relief efforts being made by Congress to assist individuals and businesses affected by the pandemic. The tax implications of the CARES Bill, the Consolidated Funds Bill signed by former President Trump in late December, and President Biden’s as yet undefined $ 1.9 trillion aid package are astonishingly complex.
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“It’s all very cheap for taxpayers, but it’s also very complicated,” said Adam Markowitz, CPA in Leesburg, Fla. Who expects to generate around 400 personal and 100 business returns this year. “We have 8,000 pages of legislation and 5,000 pages of IRS guidelines to follow, and I have to ask clients three times more questions this year than before.”
Complexity is greatest for business owners, especially those who have received credit through the Payroll Protection Program. Additional guidance in the Consolidated Funds Act resolved a number of issues – notably the ability to deduct expenses covered by an issued PPP loan.
However, there are still many unsolved problems for business owners, with solutions depending heavily on the individual circumstances of each business.
“There are strangers at every turn,” said Marrin. “For customers who received a PPP loan in 2020, there is a gray area for how the expense is split between the loan and the retention balance [ERC].
“If they haven’t applied for or received a 2020 PPP lending, they may need more time calculating their ERC – which affects their income tax return,” she added.
Marrin also noted that changes to tax reporting rules for partnerships will slow filing down.
“We have just received the final 1065 partnership instructions and there are still unknowns in many other areas,” she said. “Guidelines and updates are expected to continue throughout the year.
“That delays filing for many taxpayers,” she added.
Even for business customers who are counting on the cash from tax returns, Marrin recommends other options like taking out a second PPP loan or applying for other types of Covid grants.
“It is better to extend than change,” she said. “When you need the money and have all the information, it makes sense to go ahead and archive.
“But there’s no point in filing a file if you can’t properly prepare the return,” added Marrin.
The uncertainty as to whether and which states will comply with federal tax regulations for relief payments, deductions, and credits can also lead to a further extension of state returns.
Individuals could also have problems
Virojt Changyencham | Moment | Getty Images
Individual tax advisors just have it a little easier. Markowitz said that anyone “has nothing to do with filing a tax return without speaking to a tax advisor” in at least one of the following six circumstances:
- You made more than $ 75,000 in 2019 or 2020 – $ 150,000 for couples – or you will this year.
- You had a dependent child who turned 17 in any of the last three years.
- They had a baby last year or will this year.
- You made more money last year than you did in 2019.
- You received unemployment benefits last year.
- You own a business.
While Markowitz is optimistic that 60% to 70% of his individual customer returns will end up being submitted on time, there are many unanswered questions that suggest waiting for a return to be submitted. For example, the next proposed stimulus payment of $ 1,400, for example, may be eligible for all dependent adults in a household.
“If you had fewer dependents to claim in 2020, you may not want to file in time,” he said. “If you had more, you will want to file a file to recapture the stimulus payments.”
There’s also an outdoor shot showing Congress making unemployment benefits tax-free. Extending it, rather than changing a return later, might make sense if that occurs.
However, what could despair Markowitz this filing season is cryptocurrency tax issues for some of his millennial clients.
“Every time you inhale a cryptocurrency a transaction has to be reported. If not properly reported, you will go broke,” said Markowitz. “If I get another customer who has done something with Dogecoin that makes his tax life more complicated.”