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Guidance on 709 as Affected Taxpayers and Effective Date for Employment Tax Credits Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Tiffany L. Kuntemeier

March 27, 2020

On Friday March 27th, Treasury issued Notice 2020-20 and Notice 2020-21 providing additional clarification in response to COVID-19 regulatory changes.

Notice 2020-20 expanded on Notice 2020-18, which provided relief from tax deadlines to Americans who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency.  Under Notice 2020-18, the due date for filing tax returns and making tax payments is automatically extended from April 15 to July 15 for affected taxpayers.  Notice 2020-20 is adding to the definition of affected taxpayers, any person with a Federal gift tax or generation-skipping transfer tax payment due or the requirement to file Form 709 on April 15,2020.  For Affected Taxpayers, the filing and payment deadline for Forms 709 due April 15, 2020, is automatically postponed to July 15, 2020.

Notice 2020-21 clarified that tax credits for qualified sick leave wages and qualified family leave wages mandated by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will apply to wages paid for the period beginning on April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.  The period applies to wages paid by employers as well as self-employed individuals.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, enacted on March 18, 2020, allowed the Secretary of the Treasury to designate an effective date for qualified wages eligible for a tax credit effective not later than 15 days after enactment.  On March 20, 2020, the IRS issued an information release saying that employers “can begin taking advantage of the two new refundable payroll tax credits.”  This led to confusion on the effective date for qualified wages. Notice 2020-21 clarifies that qualified wages are wages paid for the period beginning on April 1, 2020. 

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