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Tax Alerts
April 14, 2021
Tax Briefing(s)

The IRS and the Treasury Department have automatically extended the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year, from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021. Individual taxpayers can also postpone federal income tax payments for the 2020 tax year due on April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed.


On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Some of the tax-related provisions include the following:


The IRS needs to issue new rules and guidance to implement the American Rescue Plan, experts said on March 11 as President Joe Biden signed his COVID-19 relief measure.


Strengthening tax breaks to promote manufacturing received strong bipartisan support at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on March 16.


IRS Commissioner Charles "Chuck" Rettig told Congress on February 23 that the backlog of 20 million unopened pieces of mail is gone.


The Tax Court ruled that rewards dollars that a married couple acquired for using their American Express credit cards to purchase debit cards and money orders—but not to purchase gift cards—were included in the taxpayers’ income. The court stated that its holdings were based on the unique circumstances of the case.


The IRS Office of Chief Counsel has embarked on its most far-reaching Settlement Days program by declaring the month of March 2021 as National Settlement Month. This program builds upon the success achieved from last year's many settlement day events while being shifted to virtual format due to the pandemic. Virtual Settlement Day (VSD) events will be conducted across the country and will serve taxpayers in all 50 states and the District of Colombia.


An individual who owned a limited liability company (LLC) with her former spouse was not entitled to relief from joint and several liability under Code Sec. 6015(b). The taxpayer argued that she did not know or have reason to know of the understated tax when she signed and filed the joint return for the tax year at issue. Further, she claimed to be an unsophisticated taxpayer who could not have understood the extent to which receipts, expenses, depreciation, capital items, earnings and profits, deemed or actual dividend distributions, and the proper treatment of the LLC resulted in tax deficiencies. The taxpayer also asserted that she did not meaningfully participate in the functioning of the LLC other than to provide some bookkeeping and office work.


A married couple’s civil fraud penalty was not timely approved by the supervisor of an IRS Revenue Agent (RA) as required under Code Sec. 6751(b)(1). The taxpayers’ joint return was examined by the IRS, after which the RA had sent them a summons requiring their attendance at an in-person closing conference. The RA provided the taxpayers with a completed, signed Form 4549, Income Tax Examination Changes, reflecting a Code Sec. 6663(a) civil fraud penalty. The taxpayers declined to consent to the assessment of the civil fraud penalty or sign Form 872, Consent to Extend the Time to Assess Tax, to extend the limitations period.


The IRS has released new Form 7202, Credits for Sick Leave and Family Leave for Certain Self-Employed Individuals. The form allows eligible self-employed individuals to calculate the amount to claim for qualified sick and family leave tax credits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) ( P.L. 116-127). They can claim the credits on their 2020 Form 1040 for leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, and on their 2021 Form 1040 for leave taken between January 1, 2021, and March 31, 2021.


The IRS is urging employers to take advantage of the newly-extended employee retention credit (ERC), which makes it easier for businesses that have chosen to keep their employees on the payroll despite challenges posed by COVID-19. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 (Division EE of P.L. 116-260), which was enacted December 27, 2020, made a number of changes to the ERC previously made available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) ( P.L. 116-136), including modifying and extending the ERC, for six months through June 30, 2021.


The IRS has announced that lenders who had filed or furnished Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Information, to a borrower, reporting certain payments on loans subsidized by the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (Administrator) as income of the borrower, must file and furnish corrected Forms 1099-MISC that exclude these subsidized loan payments.


The IRS is providing a safe harbor for eligible educators to deduct certain unreimbursed COVID-19-related expenses. The safe harbor applies to expenses for personal protective equipment, disinfectant, and other supplies used for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in the classroom, paid or incurred after March 12, 2020. All amounts remain subject to the $250 educator expense deduction limitation.


With some areas seeing mail delays, the IRS has reminded taxpayers to double-check before filing a tax return to make sure they have all their tax documents, including Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and Forms 1099. Many of these forms may be available online. However, when other options are not available, taxpayers who have not received a W-2 or Form 1099, or who received an incorrect W-2 or 1099, should contact the employer, payer, or issuing agency directly to request the documents before filing their 2020 tax returns.


The IRS has highlighted how corporations may qualify for the new 100-percent limit for disaster relief contributions, and has offered a temporary waiver of the recordkeeping requirement for corporations otherwise qualifying for the increased limit. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 ( P.L. 116-260) temporarily increased the limit, to up to 100 percent of a corporation’s taxable income, for contributions paid in cash for relief efforts in qualified disaster areas.


The IRS has announced that tax professionals can use a new online tool to upload authorization forms with either electronic or handwritten signatures. The new Submit Forms 2848 and 8821 Online tool is now available at the IRS.gov/TaxPros page. The new tool is part of the IRS's efforts to develop remote transaction options that help tax practitioners and their individual and business clients reduce face-to-face contact.


The IRS has urged taxpayers to e-file their returns and use direct deposit to ensure filing accurate tax returns and expedite their tax refunds to avoid a variety of pandemic-related issues. The filing season opened on February 12, 2021, and taxpayers have until April 15 to file their 2020 tax return and pay any tax owed.