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Amid the uncertainty and disruptions caused by the coronavirus, taxpayers and tax professionals alike received some welcome news this morning when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the deadline to file federal tax returns has been extended by 90 days, to July 15. That means the deadline for both filing tax returns and paying tax liabilities is now July 15.

Mnuchin made the announcement via Twitter, saying the decision came at the direction of President Donald Trump.

“We are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15,” Mnuchin wrote. “All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.”

Mnuchin added a second tweet encouraging “all taxpayers who may have tax refunds to file now to get your money.”

Likewise, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot has announced a 90-day extension for both Maryland’s filing and payment deadlines, to align with the federal extensions.

The official IRS announcement of the extensions, which was posted on March 21, reads as follows:

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced today that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.

Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax.

Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline, can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004.

The IRS urges taxpayers who are due a refund to file as soon as possible. Most tax refunds are still being issued within 21 days.

“Even with the filing deadline extended, we urge taxpayers who are owed refunds to file as soon as possible and file electronically,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds. Although we are curtailing some operations during this period, the IRS is continuing with mission-critical operations to support the nation, and that includes accepting tax returns and sending refunds. As a federal agency vital to the overall operations of our country, we ask for your personal support, your understanding – and your patience. I’m incredibly proud of our employees as we navigate through numerous different challenges in this very rapidly changing environment.”

The IRS will continue to monitor issues related to the COVID-19 virus, and updated information will be posted on a special coronavirus page on IRS.gov.

This announcement comes following the President’s emergency declaration last week pursuant to the Stafford Act. The Stafford Act is a federal law designed to bring an orderly and systematic means of federal natural disaster and emergency assistance for state and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to aid citizens. It was enacted in 1988.

Treasury and IRS will issue additional guidance as needed and continue working with Congress, on a bipartisan basis, on legislation to provide further relief to the American people.

The welcomed announcements came a day after Sen. John Thune, R-SD, introduced legislation calling for a 90-day filing extension. Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen signed on as a co-sponsor to that bill, and the MACPA e-mailed a request to Sen. Ben Cardin to support S. 3535, the “Tax Filing Relief for America” bill. The MACPA also joined the AICPA yesterday in sending a letter to Secretary Mnuchin and copying IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig asking for both payment and filing relief.

Other U.S. states are providing their own tax filing relief for individuals and businesses. The AICPA has compiled the latest developments on state tax filings related to coronavirus.

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