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AICPA urges IRS to ‘act immediately’ to provide penalty relief due to pandemic

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has urged the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide broader tax administrative and penalty relief ahead of the 15 July filing and payment deadline due to concerns that tax payers and preparers may struggle to calculate and pay tax bills as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

AICPA has made the following recommendations:

  • Penalty Relief
    • Current state: Taxpayers who fail to file a return or fail to pay an amount shown as tax on the return on or before its due date are subject to a penalty.
    • The AICPA recommends the IRS automatically waive penalties for the 2019 tax year through the extended filing deadline for all taxpayers. Additionally, AICPA asks that the IRS reassess the impact of the coronavirus during 2021 and determine the appropriateness of offering similar penalty relief for the 2020 tax year.
  • Instalment Agreements
    • Current state: Taxpayers who are unable to pay the full amount of tax due in one payment may enter into an agreement with the IRS to pay any tax due in instalments.
    • The AICPA recommends the IRS establish an expedited process to approve new instalment agreements or modifications of existing instalment agreements based on realistic and affordable payment arrangements for taxpayers impacted by the coronavirus.
  • Delay in IRS Collections
    • Current state: If taxpayers do not pay their tax obligation in full at the time it is due, they generally will receive a series of escalating automated notices reminding them of the amount owed, including any penalties and interest accrued, and demanding payment. These notices precede the automated collection process, which continues until the account is satisfied, the case is transferred to a revenue officer or until the IRS is no longer able to legally collect the tax.
    • The AICPA recommends that the IRS continue to halt its automatic collections activities of liens and levies by at least an additional 90 days after July 15th. At that time, the IRS should reassess the appropriateness of re-establishing any collection activities.

AICPA VP of taxation Edward Karl said: “The coronavirus pandemic has created a tremendous amount of hardship and uncertainty for taxpayers and their advisers, and for the IRS. We are asking the IRS to do their part to help businesses and individual taxpayers by waiving penalties and delaying collections as the country begins the process of re-opening and operating in only a limited capacity.”

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