Our colleague Marissa Koblitz Kingman has authored a client alert addressing efforts by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to vigorously enforce the state’s price gouging law during the COVID-19 pandemic. Price gouging violations are punishable by up to a $10,000 fine for the first violation and $20,000 for the second and subsequent violations. Businesses that violate the law may also be required to pay consumer restitution, attorney’s fees and investigative fees. Importantly, each sale of merchandise is considered a separate violation. You can read the alert here.

Please check out Fox Rothschild’s coronavirus resource page, which is available here.

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The Internal Revenue Service today announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most individuals. However, some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment.

The IRS also released a series of Frequently Asked Questions about the payments, which are set out below:

Who is eligible for the economic impact payment?
Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible.

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child.

How will the IRS know where to send my payment?
The vast majority of people do not need to take any action. The IRS will calculate and automatically send the economic impact payment to those eligible.

For people who have already filed their 2019 tax returns, the IRS will use this information to calculate the payment amount. For those who have not yet filed their return for 2019, the IRS will use information from their 2018 tax filing to calculate the payment. The economic impact payment will be deposited directly into the same banking account reflected on the return filed.

The IRS does not have my direct deposit information. What can I do?
In the coming weeks, Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.

I am not typically required to file a tax return. Can I still receive my payment?
Yes. People who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment. Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax.

How can I file the tax return needed to receive my economic impact payment?
IRS.gov/coronavirus will soon provide information instructing people in these groups on how to file a 2019 tax return with simple, but necessary, information including their filing status, number of dependents and direct deposit bank account information.

I have not filed my tax return for 2018 or 2019. Can I still receive an economic impact payment?
Yes. The IRS urges anyone with a tax filing obligation who has not yet filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 to file as soon as they can to receive an economic impact payment. Taxpayers should include direct deposit banking information on the return.

I need to file a tax return. How long are the economic impact payments available?
For those concerned about visiting a tax professional or local community organization in person to get help with a tax return, these economic impact payments will be available throughout the rest of 2020.

Where can I get more information?
The IRS will post all key information on IRS.gov/coronavirus as soon as it becomes available.

The IRS has a reduced staff in many of its offices but remains committed to helping eligible individuals receive their payments expeditiously. Check for updated information on IRS.gov/coronavirus rather than calling IRS assistors who are helping process 2019 returns.

Please check out Fox Rothschild’s coronavirus resource page, which is available here.

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Our colleagues Susan Foreman Jordan and Adam Grenker have published a client alert addressing various provisions in the recently-passed CARES Act which may afford financial relief to individuals with respect to their IRAs and retirement plan accumulations. You can read their alert here.

Please check out Fox Rothschild’s coronavirus resource page, which is available here.

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The Federal News Network is reporting that the due to the coronavirus pandemic, the IRS issued an evacuation notice Friday afternoon directing that nearly all of its employees work from home on mandatory telework starting Monday, March 30.  Only employees performing “mission-critical duties” will be permitted to come into the office.  Access to IRS offices will be restricted, with employees allowed only to pick up work files and mail.  Affected employees were instructed to take home whatever they needed to work remotely for the foreseeable future.  The evacuation communication to employees is now available on the IRS website here.

The IRS did not make any announcement about whether call centers would continue to be staffed, or whether mail sent to service centers would be opened and processed.  With this evacuation order going into effect tomorrow, it is safe to assume that it will be even more difficult to reach the IRS by telephone – including through the Practitioner Priority Service – and that significant delays in mail processing are likely.

Please check out Fox Rothschild’s coronavirus resource page, which is available here.

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As a follow-up to its announcement that the April 15 income tax filing deadline is extended to July 15, the Internal Revenue Service has created a series of Frequently Asked Questions to address common questions that may arise from taxpayers and tax professionals.  The categories addressed by these FAQs are the following:

  • Eligibility for Relief
  • Filing and paying your 2019 Federal income taxes and your first quarter 2020 Federal estimated income taxes
  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and workplace-based retirement plans
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Archer Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs)
  • Other questions

The IRS page states that the FAQs will be updated periodically and are “designed to be a flexible tool to communicate information to taxpayers and tax professionals in this changing environment.” Note that the FAQs are intended to provide responses to general inquiries and are not citable as legal authority. The Treasury Department and IRS are continuing to consider whether to issue additional IRB guidance on these issues addressed in these FAQs.

Please check out Fox Rothschild’s coronavirus resource page, which is available here.

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As a follow-up to its prior announcement that the April 15 income tax filing deadline is extended to July 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Treasury Department has announced a similar extension of the filing deadline for any individual who has to file a federal gift tax or generation-skipping transfer tax return by April 15, 2020.  For any such individual, the new due date for filing Forms 709 (United States Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return) and making payments of federal gift and generation-skipping tax is automatically postponed until July 20.

This extension is automatic, and there is no requirement to file Form 8892 to obtain the benefit of the filing and payment postponement.  A taxpayer may still choose to Form 8892 by July 15 in to obtain an extension until October 15, 2020.  Interest, penalties, and additions to tax with respect to such postponed Forms 709 and payments will begin to accrue on July 16, 2020.

Please check out Fox Rothschild’s coronavirus resource page, which is available here.

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The United States Tax Court issued a press release today announcing that more trial sessions have been cancelled in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  All trial sessions through the end of June 2020 have now been cancelled.  The Tax Court had previously cancelled trial sessions scheduled for March and April. In addition, the Tax Court building in Washington, D.C. remains closed, and all Tax Court personnel are working remotely.  The Court’s electronic filing system remains operational, and the Court continues to issue orders and opinions.

The text of the Tax Court’s press release follows:

The Court has determined that it is appropriate to keep the Tax Court building closed. Tax Court personnel are working remotely. The eAccess and eFiling systems remain operational and the Court will continue to process items received electronically, serve orders and opinions, enter and serve decisions, work with litigants, and receive telephone calls.

Mail will not be delivered to the Court until the building reopens. Taxpayers may comply with statutory deadlines for filing petitions or notices of appeal by timely mailing a petition or notice of appeal to the Court. Timeliness of mailing of the petition or notice of appeal is determined by the United States Postal Service’s postmark or the delivery certificate of a designated private delivery service. Petitions and other documents may not be hand delivered to the Court.

The following trial sessions will be canceled:

May 4, 2020: Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Jackson, MS; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix,
AZ; San Antonio, TX

May 11, 2020: Atlanta, GA; Dallas, TX; New York, NY; Oklahoma City, OK;
San Francisco, CA

May 18, 2020: Chicago, IL; Helena, MT; Honolulu, HI; Los Angeles, CA;
Memphis, TN; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Washington, DC

May 21, 2020: Billings, MT

June 1, 2020: Atlanta, GA; Des Moines, IA; Los Angeles, CA; Portland, ME; Salt
Lake City, UT; Washington, DC

June 4, 2020: Burlington, VT

June 8, 2020: Anchorage, AK; Denver, CO; Houston, TX; New York, NY; San
Francisco, CA; Tampa, FL

June 11, 2020: Cheyenne, WY

June 15, 2020: Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Knoxville, TN; Los Angeles, CA;
Washington, DC

June 22, 2020: Washington, DC

June 29, 2020: Atlanta, GA

The Court expects that the parties will continue to work together to exchange information and address pending issues. Unresolved cases will be scheduled for trial at a later date.

Please continue to monitor the Court’s website for updates and information. If you have any questions, contact the Public Affairs Office at (202) 521-3355.

Please check out Fox Rothschild’s coronavirus resource page, which is available here.

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As a follow-up to our prior post, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have released additional details regarding the extension of the federal income tax filing due date from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.

Taxpayers can now defer federal income tax payments due on April 15 to July 15, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. 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.

Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief.  Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004.

Please check out Fox Rothschild’s coronavirus resource page, which is available here.

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Following the lead of the Internal Revenue Service, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue announced yesterday that the deadline for taxpayers to file their 2019 Pennsylvania personal income tax returns is extended to July 15, 2020. This means taxpayers will have an additional 90 days to file from the original deadline of April 15. The Department of Revenue will also waive penalties and interest on 2019 personal income tax payments through the new deadline of July 15, 2020. This extension applies to both final 2019 tax returns and payments, and estimated payments for the first and second quarters of 2020.

The filing deadline is being extended at a time when Governor Tom Wolf has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Under Pennsylvania law the filing deadline for personal income tax returns is tied to the federal income tax due date.

Filing Electronically

Although the filing deadline has been extended, the Department of Revenue is encouraging taxpayers who are able to file their returns electronically to do so. This will enable the department to continue to process returns as commonwealth offices are closed. Additionally, if you are expecting a refund from the commonwealth, filing electronically will help avoid a delay in the release of your refund.

All taxpayers who received more than $33 in total gross taxable income in calendar year 2019 must file a Pennsylvania personal income tax return (PA-40) by midnight on Wednesday, July 15, 2020.  

Estimated Tax Payments

The deadline for taxpayers who make quarterly estimated personal income tax payments is also extended to July 15, 2020. That means estimated payments for the first and second quarters of 2020 will be due by July 15, 2020. Any individual who expects to receive more than $8,000 of Pennsylvania-taxable income not subject to withholding by a Pennsylvania employer must estimate and pay personal income tax quarterly. Estimated tax due dates for individuals are typically April 15, June 15, Sept. 15 and Jan. 15, or the first following business day if any deadline falls on a weekend or holiday.

Requesting An Extension

If additional time to file is needed, taxpayers still have the option to file a request for an extension to file their Pennsylvania personal income tax return. The extension is available for up to six months. Note, however, that an extension of time to file does not extend the deadline to make a payment if you owe taxes to the commonwealth.

Although the Department of Revenue is strongly encouraging taxpayers to electronically submit their personal income tax returns, taxpayers who file paper returns will still be able to do so. The returns will be considered timely filed as long as they are postmarked on or before the new deadline of July 15, 2020. Taxpayers who do submit their returns via paper should know that there will be delays in the processing of their returns, due to the fact that Department of Revenue’s offices are closed as part of mitigation efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This could impact the processing of a taxpayer’s refund if they are expecting one.

Tax Appeal Deadlines Extended

Because commonwealth offices are currently closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, there will be additional time in certain cases for taxpayers who wish to appeal a tax assessment issued by the Department of Revenue or file a petition for a tax refund with the Board of Appeals. A petition for appeals of all tax types will be accepted as timely filed if it is filed by the later of the following dates:

  • 30 days after the reopening of the Board of Appeals offices; or
  • The original appeal deadline.

Please know that If the appeal deadline fell on a date prior to the closure of commonwealth offices (March 16, 2020), the original appeal deadline is still applicable. In other words, in these cases petitions will be considered as timely filed if they are filed by the last day of the appeal period. Additionally, the Board of Appeals will accept any submission of requested documentation as long as it is received within 30 days after the Board of Appeals offices reopen. Visit the Board of Appeals’ Online Petition Center for further information on tax appeals.

Online Assistance Available

With the Department of Revenue’s call centers closed due to the mitigation efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Revenue is encouraging taxpayers to use its Online Customer Service Center, available here.  The department representative will be able to respond through a secure, electronic process that is similar to receiving an email. Additionally, the Online Customer Service Center includes thousands of answers to common tax-related questions.

Please check out Fox Rothschild’s coronavirus resource page, which is available here.

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