COVID-19 Updates for Professional Tax Preparers

covid 19 tax updates for professional tax preparers

This article was last updated at 5 p.m. EST on Wednesday, May 27th, 2020. The 2020 IRS Tax Forums will be held virtually beginning in July. The IRS officially announced that Tax Day is now July 15th. 

Because of the outbreak of COVID-19, many individuals are staying home, working remotely, and even avoiding social contact. As a professional tax preparer, you may be wondering how this will impact your business and your ability to meet the needs of your clients. Here are tools and information that can help you navigate this time as a tax preparer.  

IRS Tax Updates 

The IRS has created a new coronavirus tax relief database where you can find up-to-date information as it becomes available. This is an excellent resource for understanding the many ways coronavirus can affect a taxpayer’s situation. 

What to Tell Your Clients 

  • The IRS has extended the April 15th federal tax filing deadline to July 15th.   
  • This extension is automatic and applies to all individuals, including self-employed, and all entities other than C-Corporations. 
  • Tax refunds continue to be issued on a normal schedule.  
  • Encourage your clients to submit their documents as soon as possible.  
  • Remote tax prep is an option. Your clients can provide you with everything you’ll need to file their return using the TaxesToGo mobile app or the Customer Portal. (See details and requirements below.)  

Clients who have a tax bill can submit their returns now and schedule their payments at a future date. If they are not able to pay their liability in full, there are payment plans available through the IRS. 

What is my client’s new state tax filing deadline? 

Several states have altered their tax filing deadlines for the 2020 filing season due to the COVID-19 outbreak. You will want to make sure your clients are aware of their new specific state filing deadlines. Most states are following the federal guidelines, but a few have chosen their own date. 

States that have extended their filing or payment deadline to a different date than July 15th:  

State  Filing deadline  Payment deadline  
Hawaii  July 20th  July 20th  
Idaho  June 15th  June 15th  
Iowa  July 31st   July 31st   
Mississippi  May 15th  May 15th  
VirginiaMay 1stJune 1st

I can’t find my client’s state in the chart above. What is their new filing deadline? 

If you can’t find your client’s state in the chart above, your client lives in one of the many states that doesn’t have state income tax. Those states are:  

  • Alaska 
  • Florida 
  • Nevada 
  • South Dakota 
  • Texas 
  • Washington 
  • Wyoming 

2020 Virtual IRS Tax Forums 

The IRS Tax Forums are held during the summer annually to provide continuing education and tax updates to the tax preparer community. They take place in six cities around the country. This year these events will be held virtually due to COVID-19

The 2020 Tax Forums will begin on July 21st, 2020, and continue through August 20th, 2020. The IRS will live stream webinars on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday during this time.  

If you have already registered, or you sign up for a tax forum now, you will be able to participate in all of the live webinars. The IRS will also allow you to earn up to 30 continuing education credits at the virtual events. 

This year the agenda will feature tax law and publications updates, qualified business income, cybersecurity, and more. Some of these sessions will be available in Spanish, as well. 

Register now. 

Preparing Tax Returns Remotely 

TaxSlayer Pro has tools that can help you continue to serve your clients even if you are not meeting with them face to face.  

Using the TaxesToGo mobile app, your clients can take pictures of their tax records and send them to you within the app. They can easily share essential data and information and even sign all their documents remotely, instead of coming into your office or place of business.  

Important: You (the preparer) must have the Premium version of the Desktop program or be a ProWeb user to be able to use the TaxesToGo app. 

Clients who don’t have a smart phone can still send their signed documents to you through the TaxSlayer Pro Customer Portal. To use the portal, they will need access to a computer with an internet connection. 

If you are interested in learning more about the COVID-19, TaxSlayer Pro’s partner Surgent CPE is offering a FREE live webinar.