Thursday, April 2, 2020
The Beginning of the End for the Middle Ages
Some scholars date the end of the Middle Ages to May 29, 1453, and the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman forces of Mehmed II. Obviously this is an arbitrary date. But still, accepting its validity, today marks the anniversary of the beginning of the end. On this day in 1453 Mehmed’s forces began the siege of the city.
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Treasury Department Reverses Position With Respect to Coronavirus Stimulus Checks to Retirees
Many senior citizens whose income is limited to Social Security payments do not file a federal income tax return. However, with respect to the stimulus checks being issued in connection with the CARES Act, the Department of the Treasury had previously announced that those persons would need to file a Form 1040-SR in order to be in the system and eligible to receive a coronavirus stimulus check.
The Department of the Treasury has now reversed that decision. On April 1, it was announced that Social Security beneficiaries do not need to file a tax return in order to receive the stimulus payments being made under the CARES Act. The IRS website now provides:
Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file to receive a payment. Instead, payments will be automatically deposited into their bank account.
There is also a Department of Treasury Press Release, which is available AT THIS LINK.
The Passing of Eleanor of Aquitaine
Today marks the anniversary of the death, in 1204, of Eleanor of Aquitaine. By any measure employed, she led an incredible life.
Heir to more of what we today think of as France than was the then king of France, she would both marry and then divorce Louis VII, King of France. In between the marriage and divorce she would go on a crusade to the Holy Land. Louis, who had originally been trained for a career in the church and became heir to the French throne only upon his brother Phillip’s death, was not tolerant of what we would today refer to as her high-spirited ways. Allegations that, while in the Holy Land, she had an affair with her uncle have never been substantiated.
After divorcing Louis on grounds of consanguinity, she married Henry of Anjou, the heir to the English throne. Upon his ascension to the English throne there was created, by personal union, the Angevin Empire. Had she predeceased Henry, Eleanor’s lands would have been claimed by him. History, however, enjoys a good twist, and Eleanor significantly outlived Henry.
Eleanor was the mother of three English kings, the first Henry III, Richard (the Lionheart) I and John. Admittedly, one can quibble as to whether this Henry III was ever king. He was crowned during his father Henry II’s lifetime in an effort to secure the succession. He would never, however, sit upon the throne as a sole monarch as he predeceased his father. Richard, in his own right, was king of England. Sadly, so was John, to this day identified by the moniker “Bad King.”
But back to Henry III. Having been crowned king of England, but deprived of significant lands, income or authority, he bristled at being a showpiece. In concert with his brothers, the then King of France and the King of Scotland, he led a revolt against his father. It was ultimately put down, whereafter Henry II kept Henry III on a short leash. Still, he did not merely keep Eleanor on a leash. Rather, for 16 years, he kept her prisoner including in the castle at Old Sarum.
The Angevin Empire would substantially fall under Bad King John; he simply did not have the wherewithal to hold together its far flung properties.
Aside from these historic notes, Eleanor’s influence continues to this day. At her court in Aquitaine they played the relatively recently imported game of chess, it having arrived from the Middle East. Eleanor, however, took umbrage at one of the rules and had it changed. Prior to Eleanor’s intervention, the rules of chess provided that the king was the most powerful character while the queen had a circumscribed range. Eleanor decreed, it is said, that those roles be reversed. Her rule continues to this day.
Saturday, March 28, 2020
When the “Vikings” Sacked Paris
Today is the anniversary of the sack of Paris in the year 845 by the Norsemen (Vikings). By tradition the Norsemen (Vikings is not a people, it’s a job description, think raider) were led by the legendary Ragnar Lodbrok. Which is likely just a tradition; the scholarship generally concludes that he never existed and is a composite of several individuals. But it was a great launch for the series Vikings.
Regardless of whether Ragnar Lodbrok did live as a historical person, Rollo was not his brother. Rollo died somewhere in the period 928-930, and is estimated to have been born circa 860.
Certain Filing Deadlines with Louisville Metro Revenue Commission Delayed
As previously reviewed (HERE IS A LINK to that posting), in Notice 2020–18, the Internal Revenue Service extended a number of tax deadlines, including the due date for 2019 tax returns and certain 2019 and 2020 tax payments, to July 15, 2020.Following that lead, the Louisville Metro Revenue Commission (“LMRC”) is extending the due dates for 2019 LMRC Occupational License Tax Return (Form OL-3) or Extension Request (Form OL-3E) to July 15, 2020. Absent this extension the due date would have been April 15, 2020. This deferral of the due date applies to all companies having a fiscal year end of December 31, 2019 through February 29, 2020.
In addition, the LMRC quarterly deposit deadline of April 15, 2020 has been shifted one month to May 15, 2020.
The website of the LMRC has additional information. HERE IS A LINK to that website.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
DEADLINE DELAYED FOR FEDERAL TAX RETURNS AND PAYMENTS
IRS Postpones April 15 Payment and Filing Due Date Because of COVID-19 Emergency
March 23, 2020
Last week, in a pair of announcements issued on Wednesday and Friday, the U.S. Treasury provided relief from federal income tax filing and payment deadlines to U.S. taxpayers who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency and have a federal income tax payment or federal income tax return due on April 15, 2020. See IRS Notices 2020-17 and 2020-18. These Notices postpone to July 15, 2020 the obligation to file income tax returns and pay income taxes (including estimated income taxes) otherwise due April 15, 2020. No interest, penalty, or addition to tax for failure to file a federal income tax return or to pay federal income taxes will accrue between April 15, 2020 and July 15, 2020, for any return postponed by the Notices. While these Notices address both business and personal returns, this discussion is focused upon personal returns.
2019 Income Tax Returns
Notice 2020-18 postpones the due date for 2019 individual income tax returns to July 15, 2020 (rather than April 15 as is the case in “normal” years). There is no need to file a request for an extension in order to enjoy the benefit of the postponement – it is automatic.
That said, you may file your 2019 individual income tax return at any time and you should consider filing it early if you are expecting a refund.
Final 2019 Income Tax Payments
Individuals with unpaid income tax normally pay the amount of tax due as shown on their return when filed on April 15. Individuals requesting the automatic 6-month extension of time to file their individual income tax return would make an estimated payment with the application for the extension. Taxpayers under or overestimating the tax liability would make a final payment with or request a refund on their income tax return when filed by the extended due date.
The due date to make either a final or an estimated income payment for 2019 individual income taxes is postponed from April 15 to July 15, 2020. If you request an automatic extension to file your 2019 tax return to after July 15 (IRS Form 4868), you must make an estimated payment of your remaining 2019 income tax with that filing, just as you would were your return due on April 15.
The April 15 deadline for making contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts for 2019 has been changed to July 15th as well.
Estimated Payments on 2020 Income Taxes
Persons who are self-employed, rather than having taxes withheld from paychecks and remitted to the IRS by the employer, make quarterly estimated payments of the income tax due with a reconciliation on the final income tax return for the year. Those estimated tax due dates are April 15, June 15, September 15 and January 15 of the subsequent year.
Notice 2020-18 postpones the due date for the April 15 estimated payment of 2020 taxes to July 15. The postponement applies only the estimated tax payment otherwise due on April 15. As yet, no relief has been granted the estimated tax payment due June 15. Absent further relief self-employed taxpayers must pay estimated income tax on June 15 for the period April 15 – June 15 (2 months) and an additional payment on July 15 for the period January 1 – April 15. (Note that in addition to this administrative relief for taxpayers, Congress currently is considering legislation that would further delay the due date for the payment of estimated income taxes in 2020.)
S-Corporations, C-Corporations and Partnerships
The postponement of tax return filing date and tax payment dates applies only to “persons” with a federal income tax payment or a federal income tax return due April 15, 2020. The term “person” includes not only individuals but also partnerships, corporations and other taxpayers such as trusts and estates. The relief afforded by Notices 2020-17 and 2020-18 likely will have little impact on S-Corporations as most are calendar year taxpayers and the 2019 tax return for such taxpayers was due on March 16. Partnerships (most LLCs with two or more members are taxed as partnerships) do not file a tax return, but rather an “information return” (Form 1065). Notice 2020-18 is express that it does not extend the due date for information returns. Assuming the partnership uses a December 31 year end, that due date, for the 2019 tax year, was March 15, 2020. The Form 1065 for partnerships using a fiscal year is due the 15th day of the third month after the year end. Partnerships that anticipate a problem in satisfying that deadline should file a request for an automatic extension (IRS Form 7004).
State Tax Filing and Payment Deadlines
These IRS Notices apply only to federal income tax return and payment due dates; they do not alter your state tax return and payment liabilities. Many states have or are planning to follow suit. The Indiana Department issued a Press Release announcing it will conform to the federal tax filing and payment postponements. The Kentucky Department of Revenue announced it will adopt “most” of the income tax relief described in the Notices, with formal guidance to follow. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants is tracking state tax developments relating to the COVID-19 outbreak on its website. See AICPA
So Ends Gloriana
Today marks the anniversary of the death, in 1603, of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The last of the Tudor monarchs, it was under them, and particularly under Elizabeth, that England moved from being a relative backwater to a European power. Not bad for a family whose claim upon the throne was at best tenuous; the great Tudor historian G.R. Elton described that Tudors as being “a political solution to a dynastic problem.”
Elizabeth was succeeded by James I (being already James VI of Scotland), the great-grandson of her aunt Elizabeth Tudor who had in turn married James IV of Scotland.