Topics in the News

 

Here you'll find items of current interest — new programs, recent guidance or timely reminders.

2020 Tax Filing Season

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are providing special tax filing and payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak. The filing deadline for tax returns has been extended from April 15 to July 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 July 15, 2020 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request an extension to file their return.

The 2019 income tax filing and payment deadlines for all taxpayers who file and pay their Federal income taxes on April 15, 2020, are automatically extended until July 15, 2020. This relief applies to all individual returns, trusts, and corporations. This relief is automatic, taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify.

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. You will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by July 15.

Recent tax law changes have extended or changed many expiring tax law provisions, including: 

  • Treatment of mortgage insurance premiums as qualified residence interest
  • Reduction in medical expense deduction floor
  • Deduction of qualified tuition and related expenses
  • Energy efficient homes credit
  • Employer credit for paid family and medical leave
  • Work opportunity credit
  • Special rule for determining earned income  
  • Repeal of maximum age for traditional IRA contributions
  • Increase in age for required beginning date for mandatory distributions
  • Expansion of section 529 plans

For a complete list of affected tax law provisions see the Joint Committee on Taxation List of Expiring Tax Provisions 2020.

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IRS Free File  

Most taxpayers can get an early start on their federal tax returns as IRS Free File – featuring brand-name online tax providers − opens today at IRS.gov/freefile for the 2020 tax filing season.

Taxpayers whose adjusted gross income was $69,000 or less in 2019 – covering most people – can do their taxes now, and the Free File provider will submit the return once the IRS officially opens the 2020 tax filing season on January 27 and starts processing tax returns.

See IR-2020-06.

Taxpayer First Act

On July 1, 2019, The Taxpayer First Act of 2019 was signed into law, which aims to broadly redesign the Internal Revenue Service. Generally, the legislation aims to expand and strengthen taxpayer rights and to reform the IRS into a more taxpayer friendly agency by requiring it to develop a comprehensive customer service strategy, modernize its technology and enhance its cyber security.

See the Taxpayer First Act page for the latest updates.

Tax Reform

The IRS is working on implementing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This new law includes major tax legislation that will affect both individuals and businesses. Check the Tax Reform page for the latest updates.

Tax Withholding

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed the way tax is calculated. The IRS encourages taxpayers to perform a quick “paycheck checkup” by using the Withholding Estimator to check if they have the right amount of withholding for their personal situation.

Consumer Alerts on Tax Scams

‪Note that the IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

For more information on tax scams, please see Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts. For more information on phishing scams, please see Suspicious emails and Identity Theft.

Is it Really the IRS Calling?

The IRS wants you to understand how and when we contact taxpayers and help you determine whether a contact you may have received is truly from an IRS employee.

The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.

However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations.

See Avoid scams: Know the facts on how the IRS contacts taxpayers for more information.

Private Debt Collection

The IRS began a new private collection program of certain overdue federal tax debts selecting four contractors to implement it. The groups are: CBE Group of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Conserve of Fairport, N.Y.; Performant of Livermore, Calif.; and Pioneer of Horseheads, N.Y. The taxpayer’s account will only be assigned to one of these agencies, never to all four. No other private group is authorized to represent the IRS.

The IRS will always notify a taxpayer before transferring their account to a private collection agency (PCA). The IRS will send a letter to the taxpayer and their tax representative informing them that their account is being assigned to a PCA and giving the name and contact information for the PCA. This mailing will include a copy of Publication 4518, What You Can Expect When the IRS Assigns Your Account to a Private Collection Agency (PDF).

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

FATCA refers to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act that requires reporting on specified foreign accounts by U.S. taxpayers and foreign financial institutions. In general, federal law requires U.S. citizens to report worldwide income, including income from foreign trusts and foreign bank and securities accounts.