U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced during a March 17 news conference that President Trump has authorized him to make the following announcement today: “If you owe a payment to the IRS, you can defer up to $1 million as an individual — and the reason why we are doing $1 million is because that covers lots of pass-throughs and small businesses — and $10 million to corporations, interest-free and penalty-free for 90 days. All you have to do is file your taxes, you’ll automatically not get charged interest and penalties,” Mnuchin said.
Some news outlets are reporting this as an extension of the tax season by 90 days. However, Secretary Mnuchin made clear that was not the case. He said, pointedly, “We encourage those Americans who can file their taxes to continue to file their taxes” by the normal tax filing deadline, which currently remains April 15, 2020 as of March 17, 2020. The IRS could extend that filing deadline, but it is not yet clear whether that will happen. If you need more time to file your federal income tax returns, consider filing for an extension.
The IRS has not announced official guidance on these penalty and interest provisions. We will post clarity on those provisions once we learn them.