On April 9, 2020, the Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service issued its third tax filing relief guidance, Notice 2020-23 – Update to Notice 2020-18, Additional Relief for Taxpayers Affected by Ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic, (the Notice) that finally includes exempt organizations in the special filing relief of returns and tax payment obligations due between April 1 and before July 15, 2020.
The Notice explicitly includes Form 990-T tax payment and filing obligations due during this period to be automatically extended to July 15, 2020. But the eagerly awaited news is that the Notice also includes “Affected Taxpayers” required to perform “Specified Time-Sensitive Actions” — triggering Revenue Procedure 2018-58 (the Rev. Proc.) which lists exempt organizations as “affected taxpayers” required to perform “specified time-sensitive actions” — such as filing Forms 990.
Because of the emergency declaration under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Secretary of the Treasury (the Secretary) was instructed to provide relief from tax deadlines for Americans. The Secretary issued Notice 2020-17 on March 18 providing certain tax payment relief, and then Notice 2020-18 on March 20, which superseded Notice 2020-17 and provided additional filing relief, and then Notice 2020-20 on March 27, which amplified the previous notice. The Secretary has issued Notice 2020-23 on April 9, 2020, further amplification of the previous relief, which now includes an automatic extension for exempt organization filings with original or extended due dates of May 15, 2020.
Section 7508A of the Internal Revenue Code provides the Secretary with authority to postpone certain acts if a federally declared disaster occurs. Rev. Proc. 2018-58 provides a list of the time-sensitive acts that may be postponed under Section 7508A.
Rev. Proc. 2018-58 itself does not extend the due date of the time-sensitive acts, but rather the Notice issued on April 9, 2020 authorizes the postponement of the performance of time-sensitive specified acts that are listed in the Rev. Proc. and that are due to be performed on or after April 1, 2020 and before July 15, 2020.
The Secretary of the Treasury has also determined that any person performing a time-sensitive action listed in either § 301.7508A-1(c)(1)(iv) – (vi) of the Procedure and Administration Regulations or Revenue Procedure 2018-58, 2018-50 IRB 990 (December 10, 2018), which is due to be performed on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020 (Specified Time-Sensitive Action), is an Affected Taxpayer.
Therefore, because the Internal Revenue Service has issued Notice 2020-23 to authorize the postponement of specific time-sensitive acts for affected taxpayers listed in the Rev. Proc., and because the Rev. Proc. includes “Annual returns (including Form 990 series) of organization exempt from tax under section 501(a)” as a “Specified Time-Sensitive Action” exempt organizations with filing and tax payment requirements due April 1 through July 15, 2020 will have an automatic extension until July 15, 2020.
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