Small Business Taxes & ManagementTM--Copyright 2019, A/N Group, Inc.
The IRS has announced (IR-2019-55) additional expanded penalty relief to taxpayers whose 2018 federal income tax withholding and estimated tax payments fell short of their total tax liability for the year. The IRS is lowering to 80 percent the threshold required to qualify for this relief. Under the relief originally announced Jan. 16, the threshold was 85 percent. The usual percentage threshold is 90 percent to avoid a penalty.
This means that the IRS is now waiving the estimated tax penalty for any taxpayer who paid at least 80 percent of their total tax liability during the year through federal income tax withholding, quarterly estimated tax payments or a combination of the two.Today’s revised waiver computation will be integrated into commercially-available tax software and reflected in the forthcoming revision of the instructions for Form 2210, Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Individuals, Estates, and Trusts. Taxpayers who have already filed for tax year 2018 but qualify for this expanded relief may claim a refund by filing Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement and include the statement “80% Waiver of estimated tax penalty” on Line 7. This form cannot be filed electronically.
Today’s expanded relief will help many taxpayers who owe tax when they file, including taxpayers who did not properly adjust their withholding and estimated tax payments to reflect an array of changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the far-reaching tax reform law enacted in December 2017.
The IRS and partner groups conducted an extensive outreach and education campaign throughout 2018 to encourage taxpayers to do a “Paycheck Checkup” to avoid a situation where some might have had too much or too little tax withheld when they file their tax returns. If a taxpayer did not submit a revised W-4 withholding form to their employer or increase their estimated tax payments, they may have not had enough tax withheld during the tax year.
Because the U.S. tax system is pay-as-you-go, taxpayers are required, by law, to pay most of their tax obligation during the year, rather than at the end of the year. This can be done by either having tax withheld from paychecks or pension payments, or by making estimated tax payments.Usually, a penalty applies at tax filing if too little is paid during the year. This penalty is an interest based amount approximately equivalent to the federal interest on the amount not paid in a timely manner. Normally, the penalty would not apply for 2018 if tax payments during the year met one of the following tests:
For waiver purposes only, the relief provided in IR-2019-55 lowers the 90 percent threshold to 80 percent. This means that a taxpayer will not owe a penalty if they paid at least 80 percent of their total 2018 tax liability. If the taxpayer paid less than 80 percent, then they are not eligible for the waiver and the penalty will be calculated as it normally would be, using the 90 percent threshold.
Pursuant to the authority in Section 6654(e)(3)(A), the addition to tax under Section 6654 for failure to make estimated income tax payments for the 2018 taxable year otherwise required to be made on or before January 15, 2019, is waived for any individual whose total withholding and estimated tax payments made on or before January 15, 2019, equal or exceed eighty percent of the tax shown on that individual’s return for the 2018 taxable year.
To request this waiver, an individual must file Form 2210, Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Individuals, Estates, and Trusts, with his or her 2018 income tax return. The form can be filed with a return filed electronically or on paper. Taxpayers should complete Part I of Form 2210 and the worksheet included in the form instructions to determine if the waiver in this notice applies. If the waiver applies, check the waiver box (Part II, Box A), include the statement “80% Waiver” next to Box A, and file page 1 of Form 2210 with the return. Forms, instructions, and other tax assistance are available on IRS.gov. The IRS toll-free number for general tax questions is 1-800-829-1040. This waiver is in addition to any other exception that Section 6654 provides to the underpayment of estimated income tax.
For further details, see Notice 2019-25, posted today on IRS.gov.
What action do you need to take? If you haven't filed your return yet, make sure your tax preparation software is updated to handle the change. The "80% Waiver" statement should appear on your Form 2210 if it applies. It make take a day or two for software providers to update their programs. If you've filed, run your software again after the update to see if you qualify. If you do qualify, consider filing a claim for refund, as discussed above.
The IRS continues to urge everyone to take a Paycheck Checkup and review their withholding for 2019. This is especially important for anyone now facing an unexpected tax bill when they file. This is also an important step for those who made withholding adjustments in 2018 or had a major life change to ensure the right tax is still being withheld. Those most at risk of having too little tax withheld from their pay include taxpayers who itemized in the past but now take the increased standard deduction, as well as two-wage-earner households, employees with nonwage sources of income and those with complex tax situations.To help taxpayers get their withholding right in 2019, the updated Withholding Calculator is now available on IRS.gov.
Copyright 2019 by A/N Group, Inc. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is distributed with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The information is not necessarily a complete summary of all materials on the subject. Copyright is not claimed on material from U.S. Government sources.--ISSN 1089-1536
--Last Update 03/22/19