Last Minute IRS and Tax Court Deadline Update

April 13, 2020Alerts

The IRS has issued a new notice answering outstanding questions about previous filing and payment deadline extension notices and adding to the list of forms and payments covered by the extension until July 15, 2020.

Notice 2020-23 restates the overall list of “Specified Forms” and “Specified Payments” receiving the extension included in notices 2020-17, 2020-18 and 2020-20, and adds “all schedules, returns, and other forms that are filed as attachments to Specified Forms or are required to be filed by the due date of Specified Forms,” such as Form 706 — U.S. Estate Tax Return. 

The Specified Forms and Specified Payments listed in Notice 2020-23 include:

  • individual, corporate and partnership tax returns
  • estate and trust income tax returns
  • estate and generation skipping transfer tax returns
  • gift and generation-skipping transfer tax returns
  • certain exempt organization returns
  • certain excise tax returns
  • quarterly estimated income tax payments

In addition, the notice states that any “time-sensitive action” listed in Rev. Proc. 2018-58 (for example, deadlines in connection with Sec. 1031 like-kind exchanges and Section 2518 qualified disclaimers) otherwise due on or after April 1, 2020 and before July 15, 2020, constitutes a “Specified Time-Sensitive Action” and is therefore now due July 15, 2020.

Consult Notice 2020-23 for details. If the form is not listed or is not a form required to be filed with a listed form, then the taxpayer should file an appropriate extension.

The notice also purports to extend the deadline for filing Tax Court petitions, claims for refund or credit, or suits for refund if the taxpayer would be required to perform those actions on or after April 1, 2020 and before July 15, 2020. Timely filing a petition or suit is required for the Court to have jurisdiction over the case. The United States Tax Court has not issued a notice extending the statutory jurisdictional requirements. Its website simply states:

"Returned Mail: Mail sent by standard delivery of the United States Postal Service is being held while the Tax Court building is closed. Items sent through the United States Postal Service or a designated delivery service (such as FedEx or UPS) may, however, be returned as undeliverable. If a document sent to the Court is returned, resend the document to the Court as soon as possible after the Court announces it has resumed receiving mail. Please include with your resubmission a copy of the original envelope or container in which it was first sent. You should retain a copy of any document sent to the Court."

Based on the current Tax Court notice, the better practice would be to file the petition (or other document) by certified mail return receipt requested (timely mailing is timely filing). If the U.S. Postal Service returns the petition, save a copy of proof of timely mailing. When the court reopens, return the filing together with proof of timely filing to the court. This way the taxpayer can prove they timely filed their petition. Retain a copy of the proof of timely filing in case it is needed to overcome a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.