Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of March 30 – April 3, 2020. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.
March 30, 2020: Economic impact payments will be sent out over the next three weeks. These payments will be distributed automatically, with no action needed by most people. However, some taxpayers who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the economic impact payment. The Treasury Department plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS for direct deposit of the economic impact payments.
March 31, 2020: The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service launched the Employee Retention Credit to encourage businesses financially impacted by COVID-19 to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50 percent of qualifying wages of up to $10,000 paid by an eligible employer. The credit is available to all employers regardless of size, including tax-exempt organizations, with two exceptions: state and local governments and their instrumentalities and small businesses who take small business loans.
April 1, 2020: The IRS issued corrections to T.D. 9889, which contains final regulations governing the extent to which taxpayers may elect the federal income tax benefits with respect to certain equity interests in a qualified opportunity fund. Such regulations, issued on January 13, 2020, contained errors that may be misleading to taxpayers. These corrections are effective as of April 1, 2020, applicable as of January 13, 2020, and will be published to the Federal Register on April 6, 2020.
April 1, 2020: The Treasury Department and the IRS announced that Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an Economic Impact Payment (“EIP”). The IRS will use the information on Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate $1,200 EIPs for those who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. Recipients will receive the EIP as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits.
April 2, 2020: The IRS issued a warning about COVID-19 related scams. The IRS reiterated that the IRS will not to call you to verify or provide your financial information so you can get an EIP or your refund faster. Taxpayers should also be on the lookout for emails, text messages, websites and social media messages that request money or personal information. Scammers may emphasize the words “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment.” The official term is “economic impact payment.
April 3, 2020: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).
Special thanks to Emily Mussio in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.