By LEIGH PROM
While April 15 usually leaves many Americans with a sense of urgency as they rush to the post office to get their federal income taxes filed, such is not the case this year. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced on March 21 that the federal income tax filing due date has automatically been extended to July 15.
“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,” the IRS reported. “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.”
Todd Norman, owner of Main Street Tax and Financial Service in Rocky Mount, said in his 26 years in the business, he’s never seen an extension like this.
Despite the later filing deadline, Norman said his schedule is pretty full. “Most of those coming in still want their taxes done by April 15,” Norman said. “Even if they owe, they’re paying now so they don’t forget.”
Norman said his office is still open and adhering to COVID-19 guidelines if people are interested in making an appointment. People can also drop off their information. He added that he’s doing more work with clients by phone this year.
Norman said he also anticipates a flurry of activity before the extended deadline. “You can bet the week before July 15 we’ll be snowed under.”
That extension will be a welcome relief for the U.S. Postal Service, too. Usually taxpayers are rushing to get their tax returns postmarked by April 15, but that’s not the case this year. This extension is “kind of a relief,” said Callaway Postmaster S. Prillaman. “We’re so focused on safety right now. Safety’s on my mind on a daily basis right now.”
Gail Abbott of Nancy H. Lynch and Associates, Inc. in Rocky Mount said she estimates about 90% of her clients have already filed their taxes, but she has others needing help with bookkeeping and payroll.
While her office is open and complying with COVID-19 guidelines, Abbott said she encourages clients to drop off their information.
Abbott said a big difference this year is her plans for after April 15. “Usually by this time, I’m looking forward to going somewhere in May, but I’m not going anywhere this year.”
Something that’s kept Norman and Abbott busy recently is helping small businesses apply for loans for the Paycheck Protection Program, which is part of the federal stimulus bill.
Abbott and Norman said that taxpayers need to know that Virginia does not have the same filing deadlines as the federal government and advised them to consult with the Virginia Department of Taxation for filing deadlines.