Steps the IRS is Taking During the Coronavirus Crisis: Individuals

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With news of the rapidly moving coronavirus changing fast, the US government and the IRS are responding daily. To answer coronavirus-related questions, the IRS has created a website that can help taxpayers and small business owners navigate uncertain times.

In coordinating multiple agencies– the US Department of the Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the US Department of Labor (Labor)—to protect businesses from the fallout of the current health crisis, the government has also provided some assistance to individuals.

Taxpayer Assistance Center Closed

On March 20th, the IRS announced that it is closing the Taxpayer Assistance Centers across the country in response to the national declaration of emergency. Taxpayers seeking assistance can still go to the IRS website at IRS.gov. For corona virus-specific assistance, taxpayers can go to IRS.gov/coronavirus.

Paid Sick Leave

Employees who need to stay home for coronavirus-related reasons can receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave from their employer. This can include caring for sick children. They may also take advantage of paid childcare leave when the children’s schools are closed or child care is unavailable. Employers will be reimbursed for up to 10 weeks of qualifying leave.

Health Insurance

The IRS announced that high-deductible plans may cover testing and treatment. This means that even individuals on high-deductible health care plans—are defined as plans with a deductible of $1,400 or more for an individual and $2,800 and above for a family—will now provide more corona-virus-related support than they would for other illnesses. The status of the individual with one of these plans will not change if they take advantage of the coverage, meaning the company cannot drop or increase premiums for the individual. They may also continue to contribute to a health care savings account (HSA).

 Tax Filing Date Change

Perhaps most far-reaching adjustment the IRS has made is changing the 2020 federal tax deadline to July 15. This is true for both personal and commercial taxes and does not require filing any kind of extension and there is no limitation on the amount of the payment to be postponed. State tax deadlines will vary by state, but many are looking to extend the deadline as well.

 

As with everything during this national crisis, the situation is constantly evolving for individuals. You should check with your state’s labor departments, as well, to see what they are doing to support individual and family taxpayers during the coronavirus crisis.