A different tax season as tax preparers change the way they do things due to coronavirus pandemic

With the coronavirus pandemic coming during tax season in the U.S., and social distancing becoming the new normal for Americans, many tax preparers are changing the way they do things.

Most of the time, taxes are done person-to-person, but now, an independent accountant is taking a different approach for safety reasons.

Bob Sedor, owner of Rhodes Accounting, has been an independent CPA for 37 years.He is doing things a little differently this tax season, especially because both his wife and daughter work in the medical industry.

"They finally convinced me that I needed to do things more safely, so I am now having customers drop their materials, prepare the returns and call them up to pick them up," said Sedor, during a phone interview. 

Using social distancing as a precaution and safety for everyone.

"I have them come in and drop it in an area about 15 feet from my desk," said Sedor.

Large companies like H&R Block are taking precautions as well. According to a statement sent to FOX 10, company officials say they are encouraging clients to utilize their drop-off services to reduce in-person interactions, bringing in documents and reviewing and approving the return electronically. 

Sedor says if anyone can’t make it to an account...

"Go on the IRS website, look up Form 4868. That’s the automatic six-month extension of time to file their personal returns, if they’re not going to be able to make it into someone to prepare their returns on time," said Sedor.

Tax delay Q&A

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has announced that most individuals and businesses will be allowed to delay paying their federal tax bills for 90 days as part of an emergency relief plan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Some questions and answers about the delay and its potential impact on the U.S. economy.

Do I still need to file?


The details on the program are still scant. But as of now, taxpayers need to file their federal tax returns by the traditional April 15 deadline. The 90-day extension is solely for the money that is due. Those delayed payments are now due July 15. 

However, taxpayers who are facing difficulty filing on time always still have the option to request a six-month extension. Visit the IRS website  for more details. 

Who gets to wait to pay?

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said individuals who owe less than $1 million will be able to delay paying. Corporations will be able to defer payment on taxes due up to $10 million. Mnuchin said only the "super rich" would be excluded. 

However, because details are still pending, it's unclear if the delay applies to trusts or whether people who make quarterly payments on their taxes will still need to make that first payment by April 15, said Lance Christensen, a partner at the accounting firm of Margolin Winer & Evens. 

Will I be penalized for waiting to make payments?


During this unprecedented delay, individuals and corporations will not be subject to interest or penalty payments.

What if I am expecting a refund?

If you are expecting a refund, continue to file as usual.

As of now, the IRS is still processing returns and sending out refunds. 

Does this apply to my state taxes too?


Check with your state tax authority to see about any changes to due dates. Some are not extending their deadline, others are following the federal model and others still are setting their own deadlines. California, for example, has bumped its date for filing and payment of state taxes to June 15. 

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.

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