March 23, 2020 Update
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has issued a Notice (N-20-1) on the abatement of interest, as well as late filing and payment penalties, for sales tax vendors who were unable to timely file and pay on March 20, 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 virus. See Announcement Regarding the Abatement of Penalties and Interest for Sales and Use Tax due to the Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19
According to the Notice, returns must be filed and the amount due must be paid within 60 days of the due date for this relief to apply. The Notice also indicates that there are some exceptions regarding who is eligible for relief. These terms were not previously discussed in Friday’s announcement during the Governor’s press conference, that there will be a waiver of interest and penalties for late payments. This could create issues for many affected businesses, who due to temporary closures, may still be unable to pay the amount due in 60 days, or who are not eligible for relief.
The Notice goes on to describe how taxpayers seeking a interest and penalty abatement for COVID-19 related filing and payment delays may request relief on the Department’s website. It also notes that interest and penalties on late payments not made within 60 days or not covered by this Notice, will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
March 22, 2020
For those sales tax vendors that were unable to file or pay their New York sales tax return by the March 20, 2020 due date, it looks like the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has initiated a process to request relief from related interest and penalties for your late filing and/or payment.
The Department’s COVID-19 response webpage was updated on March 21 and now has a version of the following message towards the bottom of the page under the +/- drop-down buttons for “Are you extending deadlines to file or pay?” and the “Will there be relief for penalties and interest”:
Sales tax payments and returns were due March 20, 2020; however, penalty and interest will be waived if you were unable to file or pay on time due to COVID-19. See Tax relief for sales tax vendors affected by COVID-19
This link will take you to another webpage where you can “Request Relief” through the Business Taxpayer Answer Center by providing your business name, address and EIN with the subject line “COVID-19”. You will then receive a confirmation email within three days regarding relief. The Department does not want businesses contacting the call center, to avoid delays helping others affected by this pandemic.
A number of other states have also enacted relief measures for sales tax, including extending deadlines and waiving interest and penalties for late filings and payments. If you have any questions or need assistance with sales tax issues in New York or other states, please feel free to contact me for help.