More COVID-19 Tax Relief: IRS extends additional tax deadlines for individuals to May 17 and affirms deductibility of PPE

More COVID-19 Tax Relief: IRS extends additional tax deadlines for individuals to May 17 and affirms deductibility of PPE

The IRS announced that individuals have until May 17, 2021 to meet certain deadlines that would normally fall on April 15th, such as making IRA contributions and filing certain claims for refund.  Additionally, the IRS announced that the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of coronavirus are deductible medical expenses.

This follows a previous announcement from the IRS on March 17, 2021, that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year was extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021.  Notice 2021-21 provides details on the additional tax deadlines which have been postponed until May 17th.

Time to make contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts extended to May 17th

In extending the deadline to file Form 1040 series returns to May 17th, the IRS is automatically postponing to the same date the time for individuals to make 2020 contributions to their individual retirement arrangements (IRAs and Roth IRAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), Archer Medical Savings Accounts (Archer MSAs), and Coverdell education savings accounts (Coverdell ESAs).  This postponement also automatically postpones to May 17, 2021, the time for reporting and payment of the 10% additional tax on amounts includible in gross income from 2020 distributions from IRAs or workplace-based retirement plans.  The IRS is also postponing the due date for Form 5498 series returns related to these accounts to June 30, 2021.

2017 unclaimed refunds – deadline extended to May 17th

For tax year 2017 Federal income tax returns, the normal April 15th deadline to claim a refund has also been extended to May 17, 2021. The law provides a three-year window of opportunity to claim a refund.  If taxpayers do not file a return within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. The law requires taxpayers to properly address, mail and ensure the tax return is postmarked by the May 17, 2021, date.

Additionally, foreign trusts and estates with federal income tax filing or payment obligations, who file Form 1040-NR, now have until May 17, 2021.

2021 AFSP deadline postponed to May 17th

Tax preparers interested in voluntarily participating in the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) for calendar-year 2021 now have until May 17, 2021 to file their application with the Internal Revenue Service. The normal due date is April 15th.

First Quarter 2021 estimated tax payment remains due April 15th

IRS’ announcement does not alter the April 15, 2021 deadline for estimated tax payments.  These payments are still due on April 15th. Taxes must be paid as taxpayers earn or receive income during the year, either through withholding or estimated tax payments. In general, estimated tax payments are made quarterly to the IRS by people whose income isn’t subject to income tax withholding, including self-employment income, interest, dividends, alimony or rental income. Most taxpayers automatically have their taxes withheld from their paychecks and submitted to the IRS by their employer.

Deductibility of PPE

Expenses for masks, hand sanitizers, sanitizing wipes and other personal protective equipment (PPE) used primarily to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will be treated as amounts paid for medical care under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §213(d).  These expenses are included in Medical Expenses on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, and the amount in excess of 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income is deductible.

Alternatively, the amounts paid for PPE are also eligible to be paid or reimbursed under health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs), Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), or health savings accounts (HSAs).

An Opportunity For Taxpayers Who Owe The IRS

As a prerequisite to any proposal to the IRS, you must be in current compliance. That means if you have any outstanding income tax returns, they must be completed and submitted to IRS.

Also, if you are required to make estimated tax payments, you must be current in making those payments. Fortunately, as we are now in 2021, taxpayers who expect to owe for 2020 should have their 2020 income tax returns done now so that the 2020 liability can be rolled over into any proposal and the requirement to make estimated tax payments will now start for 2021.

Remember that COVID-19 does not alter the tax laws, so all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal. Individuals and businesses should keep filing their tax returns and making payments and deposits with the IRS, as they are required to do.

The take away from this – use the Federal government’s extension to your advantage to prepare for the future.

What Should You Do?

You know that at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. we are always thinking of ways that our clients can save on taxes. If you are selected for an audit, stand up to the IRS by getting representation. Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), Northern California (Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Area) and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income. Also if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you.  And if you are involved in crypto currency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

More Guidance From IRS On PPP Loans: Deductibility of Expenses Where a Business Received a PPP Loan

More Guidance From IRS On PPP Loans: Deductibility of Expenses Where a Business Received a PPP Loan

On March 27, 2020 President Trump signed the $2 trillion Stimulus Bill formally known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security [CARES] Act (the “CARES Act”) to provide assistance to workplaces and employees. The CARES Act provides many benefits intended to deliver cash into the hands of individuals and businesses, as well as many other tax provisions.  One of the most publicized provisions is the access of funds through banks to qualifying businesses and self-employed taxpayers to pay for payroll, insurance premiums and mortgage, rent and utility payments.  This is known as the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”).

Under this program administered by the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses with 500 or fewer employees including not-for-profits, veterans’ organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors are eligible for loans to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs including benefits as well as other costs.

Eligible loan recipients are eligible for forgiveness of indebtedness for all or a portion of the stated principal amount of a covered PPP loan if certain conditions are satisfied, and the forgiven amount is excluded from the borrower’s gross income.

How To Report Forgiven PPP Loans?

IRC §6050P generally requires a lender that discharges at least $600 of a borrower’s indebtedness to file a Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, with the IRS and to furnish a payee statement to the borrower.  Concerned that the filing of such information returns could result in the issuance of under-reporter notices (IRS Letter CP2000) to eligible recipients, on September 22, 2020, the IRS announced that lenders in the PPP should not file cancellation-of-debt information returns or furnish payee statements under IRC §6050P to report the amount of qualifying forgiveness with respect to covered loans made under PPP.

Can You Deduct Expenses Paid With PPP Loan Proceeds That Are Forgiven?

On November 18, 2020, the IRS announced that since businesses are not taxed on the proceeds of a forgiven PPP loan, the expenses are not deductible. Now it is interesting to note that the CARES Act did not specifically address whether the expenses used to achieve the loan forgiveness would continue to be deductible.  The IRS came up with this announcement on the basis laid out in Revenue Ruling 83-3 which states that where tax-exempt income is earmarked for a specific purpose, and deductions are incurred in carrying out that purpose, IRC §265(a) applies in disallowing the deductibility of those expenses because such deductions are allocable to the tax-exempt income.

What can PPP funds be used to pay?

PPP funds can be used to pay payroll costs including benefits (with salaries being under $100,000 per employee), interest on mortgages, rent payments, and utility bills; however, no more than 40% of the funds can be used for non-payroll costs.

What counts as payroll costs?

  • Salarywages, commissions, or tips (capped at $100,000 on an annualized basisfor each employee);
  • Employee benefits including costs for vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave; allowance for separation or dismissal; payments required for the provisions of group health care benefits including insurance premiums; and payment of any retirement benefit;
  • State and local taxes assessed on compensation; and
  • For a sole proprietor or independent contractor: wages, commissions, income, or net earnings from self-employment, capped at $100,000 on an annualized basisfor each employee.

What counts as non-payroll costs?

  • Intereston mortgage obligations, incurred before February 15, 2020;
  • Rent, under lease agreements in force before February 15, 2020; and
  • Utilities, for which service began before February 15, 2020.

Under what circumstances do I have to repay these PPP funds received?

The loan of the PPP funds will be forgiven if you maintain your pre-existing employees at their pre-existing salary levels.  Also, that you do not pay out more than 40% of the PPP funds for non-payroll costs specifically limited to: interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.

What if I do not spend all the funds or make non-qualifying expenditures?

The amount of loan forgiveness will be reduced including if full-time headcount declines or if salaries and wages decrease.  Also, if you use the loan amount for anything other than payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities payments over the 24 weeks after getting the loan.

How can I request loan forgiveness?

You can submit a request to the lender that is servicing the loan by completing the SBA application. The request will include documents that verify the number of full-time equivalent employees and pay rates, as well as the payments on eligible mortgage, lease, and utility obligations. You must certify that the documents are true and that you used the forgiveness amount to keep employees and make eligible mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments. The lender must make a decision on the forgiveness within 60 days.

What Should You Do?

Your year-end tax planning should consider if your PPP loan will be forgiven in the future as the loan forgiveness is tied to deductibility of the expenses which impact how much tax a business could owe.  Let the attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), Los Angeles (including Long Beach and Ontario) and elsewhere in California assist you maximizing your tax deductions.  Also if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you.  And if you are involved in crypto currency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.