IRS Provides Additional Relief to Taxpayers (and the IRS!) due to COVID-19 Pandemic

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Matthew L. Roberts

Matthew L. Roberts



Mr. Roberts is a Principal of the firm. He devotes a substantial portion of his legal practice to helping his clients successfully navigate and resolve their federal tax disputes, either administratively, or, if necessary, through litigation. As a trusted advisor he has provided legal advice and counsel to hundreds of clients, including individuals and entrepreneurs, non-profits, trusts and estates, partnerships, and corporations.

Having served nearly three years as an attorney-advisor to the Chief Judge of the United States Tax Court in Washington, D.C., Mr. Roberts leverages his unique insight into government processes to offer his clients creative, innovative, and cost-effective solutions to their tax problems. In private practice, he has successfully represented clients in all phases of a federal tax dispute, including IRS audits, appeals, litigation, and collection matters. He also has significant experience representing clients in employment tax audits, voluntary disclosures, FBAR penalties and litigation, trust fund penalties, penalty abatement and waiver requests, and criminal tax matters.

Often times, Mr. Roberts has been engaged to utilize his extensive knowledge of tax controversy matters to assist clients in their transactional matters. For example, he has provided tax advice to businesses on complex tax matters related to domestic and international transactions, formations, acquisitions, dispositions, mergers, spin-offs, liquidations, and partnership divisions.

In addition to federal tax disputes, Mr. Roberts has represented clients in matters relating to white-collar crimes, estate and probate disputes, fiduciary disputes, complex contractual and settlement disputes, business disparagement and defamation claims, and other complex civil litigation matters.

On April 9, 2020, the IRS issued Notice 2020-23.  The Notice provides additional relief to taxpayers through the extension of various filing and payment deadlines.  In addition, in certain instances, the Notice provides relief to the IRS to perform certain acts after the normal deadlines.


Filing and Payment Deadlines Extended

Similar to prior Notices issued by the IRS in response to COVID-19, Notice 2020-23 automatically extends several filing and payment deadlines for returns and associated taxes.  However, Notice 2020-23 is broader than prior notices in that it applies to more return filings and payment obligations.

If a return or payment obligation falls within the Notice and was due to be performed (originally or pursuant to a valid extension) or paid on after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, there is an automatic extension until July 15, 2020.  Some of the more common filing and payment extensions include:

The above filing and payment extensions are automatic.  That is, taxpayers are not required to call the IRS or even file an extension form.  If the taxpayer needs additional time beyond July 15, 2020, the taxpayer is advised to file the appropriate extension form prior to or on such date.  For example, an individual taxpayer may file a Form 4868 by July 15, 2020, to extend the time to file an individual income tax return (Form 1040).  However, the extension will not provide another 6 months as usual—rather, the taxpayer will be permitted until October 15, 2020, to file the return without penalty.  As always, any extension of time to file the return does not automatically extend the time to pay the income tax beyond the due date, which in this case is July 15, 2020.

Significantly, the IRS has clarified that the relief applies not only to the specified forms above but also to any schedules, returns, or other forms filed as attachments to such forms or required to be filed by the due date with such forms.  These include Forms 3520, 5471, 5742, 8621, 8858, 8865, and 8938.

Tax Court Deadlines, Claims for Refund, and Complaints for Refund

The Notice also provides that taxpayers have until July 15, 2020, to file petitions with the Tax Court, provided the petitions were otherwise due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020.  Moreover, taxpayers have until July 15, 2020, to file a claim for refund of tax and to bring a lawsuit against the Government for refund, provided the due dates fell on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020.  The Notice does not extend relief to any period for any of these events that expired before April 1, 2020.

Postponement of Due Dates With Respect to IRS Acts

The Notice also provides the IRS (i.e., the Government) with relief in certain instances.  Specifically, the IRS will have an additional 30-days to perform certain acts if the last date for performance of the act was on or after April 6, 2020, and before July 15, 2020.  These acts affect the following taxpayers:

The government acts that are extended include:  (1) assessing tax; (2) giving or making any notice or demand for payment of tax; (3) collecting by levy or otherwise the amount of any tax liability; (4) bringing suit by the United States; and (5) allowing a credit or refund of tax.

As a result of the postponement of time, the 30-day period following the last date for the performance of such act will be disregarded in determining whether the performance of the act was timely.


Representation in Tax Audits & Appeals 

Need assistance in managing the audit process? Freeman Law’s team of attorneys and dual-credentialed attorney-CPAs regularly represents taxpayers before the IRS and Texas Comptroller. Our team also provides tax return-related representations and helps taxpayers navigate state tax laws. Our Firm offers value-driven services and provides practical solutions to complex issues. Schedule a consultation or call (214) 984-3000 to discuss our tax representation services.