The IRS announced broad-based penalty relief for taxpayers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The relief applies to failure to file penalties and certain international information return (IIR) penalties with respect to tax returns for tax years (TY) 2019 and TY 2020, filed on or before September 30, 2022. Relief is also provided to banks, employers and other businesses from certain information return penalties with respect to TY 2019 returns filed on or before August 1, 2020, and with respect to TY 2020 returns that were filed on or before August 1, 2021.

The relief will also help the IRS focus resources on processing backlogged tax returns and tax correspondence.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS issued a series of notices and other guidance to provide relief to affected taxpayers, including:

  • postponing the due date for certain Federal income tax payments ( Notice 2020-17, I.R.B. 2020-15, 590);
  • expanded relief postponing the due date for filing Federal income tax returns originally due April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, among other things ( Notice 2020-18, I.R.B. 2020-15, 590); and
  • postponing the due date for filing Federal income tax returns in the Form 1040 series and making certain Federal income tax payments that were originally due on April 15, 2021, due on May 17, 2021 ( Notice 2021-21, I.R.B. 2021-15, 986.

Waiver and Abatement of Certain Penalties

The IRS will not impose penalties with respect to specifically identified tax returns for TY 2019 and TY 2020, filed on or before September 30, 2022. The relief will be automatically applied-taxpayers do not have to request relief.

The IRS will not impose additions to tax under Code Sec. 6651(a)(1) for failure to file the following income tax returns:

  • Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, and others in the series;
  • Form 1041, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts, and others in the series;
  • Form 1120, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return, and others in the series;
  • Form 1066, U.S. Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC) Income Tax Return; and
  • Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation or Section 4947(a)(1) Trust Treated as Private Foundation and Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business income Tax Return (and Proxy Tax under Code Sec. 6033(e)).

Further, certain penalties will not be imposed under Code Secs. 6038, 6038A, 6038C, 6038F [ 6039F] and 6677 for failure to timely file several IIRs, such as Form 5471, Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations.

Comment. Note that the Notice refers to Code Sec. 6038F, which does not exist. The context indicates that the reference should be to Code Sec. 6039F. The IRS may issue a correction.

Certain penalties will not be imposed under Code Sec. 6698(a)(1) and (2) for failure to timely file and show the required information on a Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income.

Certain penalties will not be imposed under Code Sec. 6699(a)(1) and (2) for failure to timely file and show the required information on a Form 1120-S, U.S. Income Tax Return for an S corporation.

In addition, the IRS will not impose the penalties under Code Sec. 6721(a)(2)(A) for failure to timely file any information return as defined under Code Sec. 6724(d)(1) that includes (1) 2019 returns that were filed on or before August 1, 2020, with an original due date of January 31, 2020, February 28, 2020 (if filed on paper) or March 31, 2020 (if filed electronically) or March 15, 2020; and (2) 2020 returns that were filed on or before August 1, 2021, with an original due date of January 31, 2021, February 28, 2021 (if filed on paper) or March 31, 2021 (if filed electronically) or March 15, 2021.

Exceptions

The penalty relief does not apply to any penalties not listed. Additionally the penalty relief does not apply to returns for which the penalty for fraudulent failure to file under Code Sec. 6651(f) or the penalty for fraud under Code Sec. 6663 apply. The penalty relief also does not apply to penalties in an accepted offer in compromise under Code Sec. 7122 or any penalty settled in a closing agreement under Code Sec. 7121 or finally determined in a judicial proceeding.

NTA Applauds IRS Move To Provide Late Filing Penalty Relief

National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins applauded the Internal Revenue Service’s decision to provide late-filing penalty relief to taxpayers who filed late tax returns for tax years 2019 and 2020.

“The IRS has taken a major step in providing broad, taxpayer-favorable relief from late-filing penalties for 2019 and 2020 tax years,” Collins said in an August 24, 2022 blog post, adding that the agency ” deserves substantial credit for its willingness to listen to Congress, stakeholders, and TAS [Taxpayer Advocate Service], and undertake a bold step requiring significant administrative effort and resources to benefit all taxpayers affected by the pandemic”.